Authors: ARAFMI Hunter
Event: 2008 TheMHS Awards
Type of resource: TheMHS Awards
Award state: NSW
Award level: Winner
Award category: Family/Carer Provided Services
Abstract: The Newcastle Mental Health Week “Walk of Pride” to De-stigmatise Mental Illness has been an annual event for our local community to “Step out of STIGMA”. ARAFMI Hunter offers a voice for carers and believes that people with mental illness and their families have lived with this debilitating aspect of mental illness for too long. The essence of this entry and what clearly came out of the event was the need to care more for one another and the importance of uniting as a community. Mental Illness is a part of life and it impacts on individuals, families and the whole community in a variety of ways. Through education, information sharing and public awareness, attitudes and beliefs can be challenged and possibly changed. On a fundamental level this is what ARAFMI is aiming to achieve, by encouraging the community to unite and bond in a way which supports, encourages change and offers HOPE. Description of Facility/Organisation: ARAFMI Hunter is an association of relatives and friends of people with mental illness. An NGO which began in the Hunter in 1979, servicing the Hunter region based in Newcastle. ARAFMI offers support, counselling, education and information to families, relatives and friends of people with mental illness. Funding is principally provided by NSW Health, our budget is expended on paying wages to two full time staff two part time and support services. We have 10 volunteers and a current membership of 350. Our programs and workshops consist of a variety of self-empowering and self-awareness programs. A program for young carers is offered during school holidays to children between the ages of eight and twelve, at various times throughout the year we provide carers the opportunity to spend a relaxing weekend away with other carers who access our service. We have strong partnerships with Health and various service providers offering experience and expertise in these areas.