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 required with access to unlimited counselling sessions. We will 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 6717. We will confirm your availability to attend one week before the scheduled workshop.

Cost per workshop including light lunch, ARAFMI members $20, concession $10, non-members $30, concession $20.

View workshops

Support Groups

  • Borderline Personality Disorder, 22 Stewart Ave, Hamilton East, 2nd Tuesday of the month 6.30 to 8.30pm
  • Lakeside Private Hospital, Warners Bay, 3rd Thursday of the month 6.30 to 8.30pm
  • Family Carer Connections, ISHMU James Fletcher Hospital, alternate Wednesday 5.30 to 6.30pm

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 is  hosting the annual Mental Health Wellness Walk on Saturday 18th February 2017. The walk commences at Pacific Park 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 website

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.



Monday, 10 & 17 March 2017, 9.30 to 3.00pm, 2 day workshop

22 Stewart Avenue, Hamilton East

Assertiveness is the ability to express yourself without violating the rights of others while developing a more positive sense of self. This course will teach you practical assertiveness techniques that can help to:
•    Improve communication with family, friends and service providers;
•    develop a positive frame of mind; and
•    manage the caring role more effectively


Monday, 13 March 2017, 9.30 to 3.00pm, 1 day workshop

22 Stewart Avenue, Hamilton East

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, the importance of boundaries and self-care.


Monday, 27 March 2017, 9.30 to 3.00pm, 1 day workshop

22 Stewart Avenue, Hamilton East

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.


Monday, 1 May 2017, 9.30 to 3.00pm, 1 day workshop

22 Stewart Avenue, Hamilton East

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


Friday, 10 February & 9 June 2017, 9.30 to 3.00pm, 1 day workshop

22 Stewart Avenue, Hamilton East

Self-esteem is how we value ourselves; it is how we perceive our value to the world and how valuable we think we are to others. Self-esteem affects our trust in others, our relationships, our work – nearly every part of our lives. In this workshop, you will learn to strengthen the foundation of your life with healthy self-esteem and improved relationships.


Friday, 24 February, 9.30 to 3.00pm, 1 day workshop

22 Stewart Avenue, Hamilton East

This one day educational workshop will look at the stress management model covering things such as; what is stress, symptoms and sources of stress, balancing and controlling stress, realistic and unrealistic thinking, values and beliefs, and goal setting.


Wednesday, 5 April 2017, 9.30 to 12.00pm, ½ day workshop over 8 to 10 weeks

22 Stewart Avenue, Hamilton East

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.


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, Veronica Mortell on  02 4961 2842.