Carer & Family Support
Arafmi has an extensive history working alongside mental health carers and families. With over 40 years of knowledge and experience, we are uniquely placed to support you in your role as a carer, or family member, of a person with a mental illness.
Our wide range of services and programs are designed to support mental health carers in a way that best suits you and your family’s needs. Whether you need help navigating the NDIS, looking for support services for yourself or a loved one or simply need someone you can talk to who understands, we’re here for you.
A mental health carer is someone who cares for or about someone with a mental illness or mental health issues (whether diagnosed or not).
Carers can be of all ages and have different relationships with the person with a mental illness. This includes children, adults, siblings, parents, grandparents, partners, other family, friends and neighbours.
They are not paid formal carers (ie people employed as workers) but could receive a carer support payment through Centrelink because of their caring role.
The person you care for does not need to have a formalized mental health diagnosis or NDIS package. If you identify that the person you care for has mental health needs and you are requiring support as a carer then you are encouraged to contact the Arafmi Carer Support Team.
We can talk through your situation, identify possible options and provide you with information about these. Arafmi specialises in providing supports for mental health carers and can assist you to link with these and/or other more appropriate supports where this is beneficial. Some people experience mental health needs and other disabilities (e.g. intellectual disability) or health related needs and can require different specialised carer supports. If you are not sure if Arafmi has the right supports for you please call our team for assistance.
Yes, the carer supports are for people in Queensland who care for someone with mental health needs regardless of whether the person they support is an inpatient, outpatient, living in supported accommodation, accessing private services or using public services.
The 24-hour support line and counselling are available to carers across Queensland over the phone.
Online supports for carers are provided via Zoom and include counselling, information and education sessions and support groups. There are general support groups and specialised support groups including caring for a young person, caring for a partner/spouse and caring for a person with a dual diagnosis.
In some regions we have face-to-face support groups. An up-to-date listing is on the website at
Carer Support Groups | Arafmi . If carers are interested in starting a support group they are encouraged to contact us to discuss their interest and we can provide training and support to establish a group.
The Arafmi Carer Supports are primarily funded by Queensland Health. This means supports are free for carers.
For one off larger events a small co-contribution could be requested. In these situations this would be clearly advertised in advance and support given to ensure carers are not missing out on opportunities because of their financial situation.
Being a financial member of Arafmi is optional. Carers are encouraged to become a member for a small annual fee of $5 unwaged and $10 waged as this can provide additional benefits including invitations to focus groups, some events and voting rights at the Annual General meeting? link to website/form.
The Arafmi Carer Supports are available for carers to access as and when they need them. Carers can choose to access just one support or multiple supports and services.
The 24-hour line is available 24/7 with no limit to access.
Counselling sessions provide targeted individualised support relating to carer needs. The Counsellor will discuss with you the boundaries of the counselling including what supports can be provide, how and when. Some people are looking for brief support and others may seek support over an extended period of time as needed. Where ongoing counselling is needed the Carer Support Team can assist with linking people with suitable ongoing emotional supports.
The face-to-face and online groups can be accessed as one offs, on an ongoing basis or as and when needed.
Workshops topics are repeated and carers can attend the same workshop again if they want.
There are no waiting lists to access the 24-hour phone support line. After hours, the service has one line so if the line is busy please call back.
Most supports groups are held monthly and these do not have waiting lists.
Carers can self-refer to carer counselling and will generally have an appointment within two weeks.
We ask that you register for all workshops and education sessions. Further sessions could be organised if there was a higher than usual interest.
Arafmi can provide emotional support for carers eg through the counselling and phone support but unfortunately it is not part of our role to be advocates. We are unable to be a part of review tribunals and physically attend meetings with carers. As we are not an advocacy service we will assist you to link with specialised and appropriate advocacy services.
There are a range of other organisations that provide supports, funding and/or information for carers. Some of these include:
Carer Gateway 1800 422 737 www.carergateway.gov.au
Carers Queensland 07 3900 8100 www.carersqld.com.au
Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI) www.copmi.net.au
Eating Disorders Queensland 07 3844 6055 www.eatingdisordersqueensland.org.au
Little Dreamers (Young Carer organisation) 1800 717 515 Little Dreamers Australia
Young Carers Network www.youngcarersnetwork.com.au
You are encouraged to look at these websites for details and contact the organisations directly for more information. We can also provide details to assist you to know which may be of relevance.
Carers can self–refer to any of the Arafmi Carer Support Services programs or be referred by a health professional, family member or friend when consent has been given. A member of the Arafmi Carer Support Team will then connect with the carer, discuss their needs and assist them to access / book the relevant support.
Arafmi is able to offer up to 5 sessions, either face-to-face, online or phone. Counselling is delivered by our qualified social worker and is structured around Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This is an evidence-based model that combines self-acceptance with mindfulness skills that can help you to accept what is out of your control and at the same time commit to make your own life better based on your values.
Carer Support Groups
Our Support Groups offer a supportive environment where people have the opportunity to talk about their feelings, help explore alternative ways of coping, offer support to other group members, or to simply listen and observe. Support groups are also a valuable means of informing carers of Arafmi services and resources that are available to assist their caring role.
Available Support Groups:
- Carer Support Groups (Face-to-Face)
- Carer Support Groups (Online)
- Dual Diagnosis Support Group
- Caring for a Spouse/Partner
- Carers for a Youth
For the full list of our carer support groups, both online and face-to-face, click here.
Education Workshops & Information Sessions
24hr Carer Support Line
We understand the difficulties that mental health carers face. Our 24 hour Carer helpline is open to anyone who is caring for or about a relative or friend with a psychosocial disability.
You can call Arafmi’s 24 hour Carer helpline any time of the day to share your feelings, receive support, find new resources and learn helpful coping skills to help you in your caring role. It’s comforting to know that when you need to talk – someone who understands will be there – at any hour.