About Us

Arafmi is a not-for-profit organisation that provides supports to mental health carers. Our roots date back to the mid 1970s when a young social worker on his final placement at a community health service in Brisbane recognised a need among the families of his clients for a ‘relatives discussion group’ – this became our first carer support group.

Today Arafmi continues to provide support to mental health carers across Brisbane and the surrounds with our expanded services in the carer and NDIS space. We are proud to have built a model which both creates and shares knowledge about how to understand who we are, the roles we fulfil and how to take action in the world.

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About Us

About Arafmi

To enhance the wellbeing of people with mental illness, their families, carers and volunteers.

To enhance the wellbeing of people with mental illness, their families and carers by providing quality support, education and advocacy services.

  • Provide emotional support for families, carers and friends of people experiencing mental illness
  • Provide accurate information for carers to cope with the demands and pressures of caregiving
  • Increase the community awareness and understanding of mental disorders
  • Decrease the stigma attached to mental disorders
  • Convey the needs of carers and families to healthcare professionals, the government and the community

As a grass roots organisation we value:

  • The strength and inspiration gained from the work and skills of people with a mental illness, their families and carers.
  • The availability, talents and willingness of volunteers, drawing much of our energy and knowledge from volunteers who are also carers.
  • The work and skills of others within the fields of mental health and caring; within our advocacy role we operate respectfully and in collaboration with them
  • Equity of access to our services for people from diverse backgrounds, geographic locations and cultural groups.
  • Our staff and each other; within Arafmi we treat each other with respect and we care for our staff and appreciate their contributions.
  • A culture of excellence, seeking continual improvement and enhanced responsiveness to carer needs in providing services.
  • Efficiency, value for money and service quality in responding to the requirements of our funders.
  • In all our decision-making we are guided by ethical considerations which promote the welfare of carers and people with serious mental health problems over the needs of the organisation.

Click to view Arafmi Strategic Implementation Plan 2021/24 (PDF)

Governance

Board of Directors
Denise Buckby

Denise commenced her career in the education sector after completing her Diploma of Teaching (with Distinction) followed by a Bachelor of Education studies. For the next ten years, Denise taught in all levels of education specialising in Mathematics, Physical Education and participated as an Administrator and Coach in interschool sports competitions. Her educational qualifications and experience was highly valued when she moved into a Senior Sales Management role for an Educational Resources company. Denise expanded her portfolio when she was contracted as an interviewer for the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

As the sole Director of DCB Property Management Pty Ltd, Denise currently owns and conducts the Management Rights business at Freshwater Apartments, New Farm. After 20 years, Denise is highly respected as a Resident Unit Manager with her vast experience and knowledge.  She has completed her MR studies at the Australian Property College and the REIQ. Since joining Arafmi, Denise has completed her Certificate in Governance for Not-for-Profit Organizations.

Denise demonstrates a strong sense of community that underlies her energy, motivation and passion to be a person of service to create positive change for all. This is reflected in her holding many executive and leadership roles in volunteer organizations within her local area and beyond. Her community involvement includes being the Treasurer of the New Farm and Districts Historic Society; District Club Growth Director and Club President for Toastmasters International, and Secretary and Board Member for Rotary New Farm. Rotary awarded Denise as a Paul Harris Fellow for her significant service to the community. In addition to these organizations, Denise is currently Chairperson of Arafmi Ltd. Arafmi provide supports, education and practical assistance to people with mental illness, their families and their carers. Denise is passionate about increasing the awareness of mental health carers and providing the necessary supports.

Denise’s interests include love of family, mastering puzzles, jigsaws and crosswords as well as playing board games, reading biographies and local history.

Denise’s knowledge and experience in education, property and not-for-profits combined with her superior communication skills ensures she is a valuable asset to any organization or Board.

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Rebecca has, since 1999, worked in mental health services in Queensland, New South Wales and England in the areas of psychosocial rehabilitation, acute mental health and traumatic grief. Rebecca qualified as a Social Worker in 2002 and is a member of the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). Rebecca has Dialectical Behaviour Therapy experience as a Skills Group trainer and Individual Therapist. She received her initial training in 2008 by the Centre for Psychotherapy, and then ten days of Intensive training with Marsha Linehan’s company Behavioural Tech. In 2013, Rebecca travelled to the United States of America for Advanced training conducted by Marsha Linehan in Mindfulness and DBT. In 2014, Rebecca attended a further 2-day workshop with Dr Linehan in Melbourne.

Rebecca has been on the Board of Directors for Arafmi Ltd since 2016. She became the Chairperson of the Board in 2019 and successfully led the board through 2019/20 which was their first financial year as a board governing a company limited by guarantee. In 2020 she made the decision to step down from the position of Chair but she continues to serve Arafmi as a board member and she represents Arafmi for its Mental Health Carers Australia meetings.

Ethan Edwards

Ethan started his career as a Federal Court Judge’s Associate in 2014. Following this role he practised as a solicitor in a regional general law firm. Ethan discovered that general law was not for him which is unsurprising given his family pedigree in industrial relations. To enable him to focus on his passion for industrial relations Ethan took a role as a consultant based in Brisbane. He then joined Mazars HR as an industrial relations specialist, however he has a capacity to work in all areas of human resources.

Ethan has a particular interest and considerable experience working in the horticultural and primary industries sectors. He owns and operates a small farm in regional Queensland and therefore has a keen interest in working with regional clients to provide them with the full spectrum of Human Resources and Industrial relations services.

Ethan likes to develop long-term partnerships with his clients and provides them with advice that allows them to manage now as well as make strategic decisions for the future. His areas of specialty include all areas of industrial relations including Fair Work Ombudsman matters (including having an on-site presence), enterprise agreement drafting, negotiation and future planning, drafting and advice on employment contracts, termination and disputes as well as providing pragmatic and practical advice to address difficult employee or employment situations when they arise.

Ethan focuses on realistic outcomes and sets realistic expectations.  His client-centric approach ensures that clients are always up to date and can make business and employment decisions with confidence.

Ethan’s down-to-earth and practical approach makes him an ideal partner for business in not just the horticultural and primary industries sector but all sectors.

Oddur Thomas Augustsson – Director

Tom Augustsson has many years of service volunteering in the community and not-for-profit sector, with career insight to support finance and governance elements that stabilise the smooth running of organisations.  

 With a personal history supporting family members through recovery of mental illness, Tom recognises the vital role of Arafmi in the lives of Queensland carers and the power of shared community support, A certified practising accountant (CPA) employed in a Finance team with a water utility and having previously served in compliance and audit roles among a range of Australian and Queensland government departments, Tom’s understanding of the decisions made with resources and the protection that good governance brings helps to strengthen and sustain organisations.

Through prior Board and Office Bearer roles, Tom has gained experience through association and connection with Arts Access Australia, Alternatives to Violence Project workshops, Blind Citizens Australia, CPL (Choice, Passion, Life), Deaf Services Queensland and Grow mental wellness programs. In his spare time he is learning about coding of hospital records for accurate statistical capture per the International Classification of Diseases and Australian Classification of Health Interventions. Tom enjoys community singing and pub trivia nights – and loves Brisbane’s unique and accessible pairing of the two known as Pub Choir. (Soon to be world-renowned – if not already).

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Dr Niki Edwards is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Public Health and Social Work, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology.

Prior to entering academia, she worked in health, disability and human services for more than 20 years. Dr Edwards’ research brings together clinical, governmental and academic perspectives to create a synthesised account of psychiatry, disability and disadvantage. Early in her career, Dr Edwards worked in psychiatric services as people with disabilities moved from institutional care/community development. Later, she worked clinically in hospital and rehabilitation settings and in public policy and public administration across government portfolios including family services, community services, disability and mental health.

Drawing upon this experience, Dr Edwards has contributed to many Department of Defence and Trade Australia Award Fellowships for fellows from Africa, Cambodia, the Philippines, Pakistan, Nepal and the Pacific in the intersecting areas of disability, gender and inclusive disaster management. After completing a Master of Public Administration at the University of Queensland in 2000 and a PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Queensland in 2007 she now uses mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative designs) to research inclusion, diversity and gender equality.

Her teaching responsibilities at undergraduate and postgraduate levels include social work and human services students, and past involvement in the education of medical students and trainee psychiatrists.

Dr Edwards is one of the few accredited international trainers in the psychiatric assessment of adults with intellectual and developmental disability.

She was appointed to the position of Coordinator of the Undergraduate Social Work Programs in 2012 – current.

Prof. Robert Bland

Robert Bland AM BSW(Hons) MSW PhD MACSW is an Honorary Professor of Social Work at the Australian Catholic University and the University of Queensland. He has worked in the mental health area as a clinician, teacher and researcher, and published extensively in the area of family welfare and mental illness. He is a Life Member of ARAFMI and has been active in the organization over many years.

Robert has extensive experience as a director on Boards for Aspire, Anglicare Tasmania, NEAMI National, and the Anglican Community Services Commission. He is currently a member of the Queensland Health Minister’s Advisory Committee for Mental Health.

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Melanie Mayne-Wilson, GAICD, is the General Manager, Marketing and Fundraising for the Royal Flying Doctor Service (South Eastern). She was previously the Queensland State Manager for the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the largest governance Institute in the world, with over 45,000 members and a mission to strengthen society through world-class governance. Melanie is a communication, public affairs and reputational risk specialist with over twenty years of experience in senior executive roles guiding boards and executive teams through periods of significant change, to protect and enhance their corporate reputation and social license to operate.

Simon Moore

Simon enjoys working with people and organisations who are passionate about their vision, and making a difference in the community.

With over 15 years’ experience in the not-for-profit and primary health care sectors, over 15 years in membership organisations, and 10 years as a part of executive leadership teams, Simon has a demonstrated experience of change management and transition from strength to strength.

As Company Secretary of Partners 4 Health Limited and Open Minds Australia Limited, Simon worked closely with the CEO, Board, board sub-committees, clinician and client advisory groups to ensure strategic, operational and compliance issues were addressed in a timely and effective way.

Leading a small project team to review all internal policies and procedures, and work closely with internal stakeholder and subject matter experts to achieve accreditation to NDIS Practice Standards and the Human Services Quality Framework.

With overall responsibility for risk management in Company Secretary and consulting roles, Simon led the development and implementation of integrated enterprise wide risk management systems aligned to Australian Standards ISO 31000 Risk Management.

Working with the Board subcommittee and the Occupational Health and Safety Officer, he led the development of WHS indicators and a strategic report, and presented these at each Board meeting.

Simon’s expertise in Commonwealth, State, and subcontractor relationships and personal negotiation style has achieved mutually beneficial outcomes with funders, vendors and suppliers.

Simon possesses a genuine interest in people and an enthusiasm for his work. His strong personal belief system underpins everything he does and helps him to achieve a high level of integrity, reliability and responsibility. Simon has been described as a servant leader who is dedicated to activities that align with his values. He enjoy challenges, aims for excellence, embraces innovation and strives to see organisations achieve best possible outcomes.

Senior Management Team
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Originally from Glasgow, Irene moved to Australia in 2011. With over 20 years’ experience in leadership roles within the mental health and disability services across the United Kingdom and Australia, her experience includes mental health and systems advocacy services, forensic alcohol and other drug services, service design for people with complex disability and implementation of peer support programs.

Irene has been in the position of CEO at Arafmi Ltd since June 2019In this role she has overseen extensive NDIS growth and significant workforce and systems implementationTo date, she has also successfully steered the company through the uncertain waters of COVID-19 lockdowns, restrictions and associated service challenges. 
 
Until 2015, Irene was an international hockey umpire, umpiring major tournaments including the Commonwealth Games and several World Cups. Since retiring from umpiring, she continues to give back via coaching of umpires as well as designing a mental health training program that can be utilised by sports teams to support emerging mental health issues for teammates. 
 
As a leader, Irene’s style is fair, reasonable, approachable and reliable. She believes that everybody has a voice and that the workplace and the world, should be filled with equality and diversity in all aspects.

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Puji is an experienced finance professional with a demonstrated history of working with profit and not-for-profit organisations. Born in Indonesia, Puji moved to Australia in 2002 with a Bachelor of Accounting Degree. Since then she has accumulated a Master’s degree with a focus on Professional Accounting from the University of Queensland and she is also a member of CPA Australia.

Puji is skilled in auditing, budgeting, forecasting, management, strategic planning and management accounting. Her 21 years finance experience has been in various industries including pharmaceutical, FMCG, IT, NFP and manufacturing. She is now utilising this diverse experience in her role of Chief Operating Officer at Arafmi Ltd. In this role Puji oversees finance, support coordination and the operations for the corporate side of the business.  
 
Puji’s friendly and outgoing nature, coupled with her keen eye, love of numbers, and her ability to get things done, makes her a fantastic addition to the Arafmi Team.

Life Members

Prof. Robert Bland
Ms Barbara Greig
Ms Ailsa Whitehead
Mr Cliff Leong
Ms Jean Humphrey
Ms Barbara Harvey
Ms Claire Lees (In Memoriam)
Mr John Skelton(In Memoriam)
Mr Rhodes Hart (In Memoriam)
Ms Pat Jones (In Memoriam)