In 1976, a young social worker on his final placement at the Stones Corner Community Mental Health Service, (then the only such service in Queensland) recognised a need among the families of his clients for a ‘relatives’ discussion group’. Such a group would enable families to meet and share their experiences as carers of family members with a serious mental illness. The group initially commenced with five people who discovered, many for the first time, that they were not alone. They began the fragile process of hearing each other’s stories and working through the pain together, with both tears and laughter.
From these beginnings Arafmi built a model which mutually supports people in one of the most primary roles of humanity – caring for people more vulnerable than ourselves and the ones we love. Arafmi built a model of service which both created and shared knowledge about how to understand who we are, the roles we fulfil and how to take action in the world. From these humble beginnings, Arafmi took action in the world!