ARAFMI Hunter provides a range of high quality and holistic services that support individuals, couples, families, children and organisations.

We are a community managed charitable organisation working in partnership with mental health services to ensure our community understands and responds to the impact of mental illness on families, relatives and friends.

Model of Care

Our unique model of care encourages anyone who provides support to a person with a mental illness or disorder, to reach out and access our services – no diagnosis or referral is required. We work in partnership with you for as long as you require.


Our accredited and professional counsellors understand the difficulties that mental health carers face and will respond with compassion and respect, and ensure you get the right care at the right time to meet your individual needs.

  • No cost, face to face counselling in a relaxed, safe and therapeutic environment
  • Remote telephone and Skype counselling, if you prefer
  • Assistance to navigate Hunter New England mental health services
  • Information on psychiatric illnesses


Attendance at workshops is via an expression of interest. To register your interest in attending a workshop call 02 4961 2842. We will confirm your availability to attend one week before the scheduled workshop.

Workshop costs: ARAFMI members $20, Non-members $30 (less $10 for concession holders).

Catering: Light lunch is included.

Eligibility: If you provide support to a person who lives with mental illness you are welcome to attend our subsidised workshops. If you are employed to provide support to a person who lives with mental illness, then please contact our office to enquire about workshops tailored to your professional requirements.

View workshops

Support Groups

Our support groups are a place where you can share and be supported by others who are having similar experiences. All our groups are attended by one of our counsellors. The person you support doesn’t have to have a mental health diagnosis or be a client of the hospital where the group is held for you to attend. Just choose the location and group type that best suits your support needs.

  • Borderline Personality Disorder Support Group: 32 Brunker Road, Broadmeadow, 2292. 2nd Tuesday of the month, 6:30 – 8:30pm
  • Lakeside Carer Support Group: Lakeside Private Hospital, Warners Bay. 3rd Thursday of the month, 6:00 – 8:30pm
  • Stockton Carer Support Group: Stockton Bowling Club. 2nd Wednesday evening of the month
    • Upcoming dates:
      • 13 February 2019, 5.30 pm to 8.00 pm  – “Tai Chi Workshop” with Amanda Heidke, owner of the Tai Chi Centre, Newcastle.
      • 13 March 2019 – “Decluttering your Life” with Kate Smith from Declutter and Get Organised – see Herald Article –
    • For registration and information contact Janette on 0421 512 249 or


  • Family Carer Connections: ISMHU James Fletcher Hospital, 72 Watt Street, Newcastle. Alternate Wednesday 5:30 – 6:30pm
    • Our counsellor attends ISMHU on alternate Wednesdays to provide support and information to families and carers of loved ones who are ISMHU participants.

Telephone and Carer Support

You may feel overwhelmed and isolated by your caring role. If so, reach out, debrief and chat with our trained peer support workers, or alternatively you may wish to register to receive a weekly wellbeing call.

Community Partnerships

ARAFMI Hunter hosts Newcastle’s annual Mental Health Wellness Walk each year in October Mental Health Month. The walk commences at 10am and concludes at Civic Park, Newcastle with a festival celebrating mental wellness through music, art and exercise.

The aim of the walk is to bring our community together by raising awareness of mental health. The walk encourages all of us, whether we have experienced mental illness or not, to recognise the importance of looking after our mental health and wellbeing. Together as a community, we can stomp out stigma.

Visit the Mental Health Wellness Walk page

How to Access our Services

Call our support line on 02 4961 6717  to make a counselling appointment, chat with a peer support worker or register your interest in attending a workshop or support group.



9:30 to 3:00pm, 1 day workshop

Monday 25 March 2019

Monday 26 August 2019

32 Brunker Road, Broadmeadow

This one day workshop will help you make sense of BPD, show you how you can support someone with BPD, identify triggers, explore tips for coping and managing challenging behaviours. You will also learn about the importance of boundaries and self-care.

To attend this workshop, a referral from one of our Counsellors is required, and only one family member can attend at a time.



9:30 to 3:00pm, 1 day workshop

Monday 8 April 2019

Monday 23 September 2019

32 Brunker Road, Broadmeadow

It would not be possible to enjoy healthy relationships without the existence of personal boundaries, or without our willingness to communicate them directly and honestly with others. In this workshop, you will learn to set healthy personal boundaries that support positive self-respect and self-worth.


Half day workshop over 10 weeks

9:00 to 12:00pm each Monday

17 June to 19 August 2019

32 Brunker Road, Broadmeadow

This eight to ten-week program is designed to help carers move from ‘just coping’ to living better with the impact of mental illness while bringing the focus back on their own life journey, healing the hurts of the past and moving forward.

To attend this workshop, a referral from one of our Counsellors is required, and only one family member can attend at a time.


9:30 to 3:00pm, 1 day workshop

Monday 25 November 2019

32 Brunker Road, Broadmeadow

Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and to not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. In this workshop, you will learn skills to be more present in the moment, to accept thoughts and emotions, and some useful practical exercises to take home.


By arrangement

Venue to be determined

We can deliver bespoke educational workshops for organisations and their staff. To discuss your specific training requirements please contact our Operations Manager on 02 4961 2842.