About MIFA

About MIFA

Do you need more information or support about psychosis or other mental illness for yourself or someone you care about? Call 1800 985 944 to speak with a MIFA member in your State

MIFA Common focus

As a group of long-standing membership based organisations, we currently have more than 80 ‘front doors’ across Australia. We are building a national network that delivers local solutions based on our common strengths which are:

  • We know from experience that recovery of a better quality of life is possible for everyone affected by mental illness

  • We work with and alongside participants and members of our organisations in every program, whether as staff, managers, peers, volunteers or board members

  • Peers—consumers, carers, families, friends—are at the heart of all our program design, governance, delivery and evaluation—and our services are better for that

  • We work closely with families, carers and friends as well as the person with a mental illness, including those who are hard to reach

  • Our objectives are holistic -- we work to assist individuals and families in their journey to recover mental health, physical health, social connectedness and equal opportunity in all aspects of life.

  • We educate and advocate to help build a community where people with mental illness are accepted and valued, and where carers are supported and validated

  • Our national federation strengthens all of us in our efforts to be innovative and reflective in all of our practices -- and to become well-enough known to ensure no-one misses out on available help

  • We give priority to persuading funders, policy makers, politicians and potential corporate sponsors to invest in community resources which reflect these common strengths

  • We don’t do it all, nor do we want to – our collaborations with other service providers ensure that our front doors will always lead to the best local services


MIFA gives an Australian voice to international mental health networks – we are members of the World Federation for Mental Health and the World Fellowship of Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders and we have links with the US National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).



Our Members

Our Members

Do you need more information or support about psychosis or other mental illness for yourself or someone you care about? Call 1800 985 944 to speak with a MIFA member in your State

The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia is a membership organisation, representing at the national level, the interests of its member organisations and people affected by mental illness.

Currently, MIFA has member organisations operating in most states and territories of Australia.


Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia Inc and member organisations

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Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia
Executive Director, David Meldrum
Street Address: 5 Cooke Terrace, WAYVILLE SA 5034

Mailing Address: PO Box 844, MARLESTON SA 5033

Ph: (08) 8272 1018  
Fax: (08) 8378 4199



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Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW 
Chief Executive, Rob Ramjan AM 
Street Address: Building 37, Gladesville Hospital Victoria Road, GLADESVILLE  NSW  2111

Mailing Address: Locked Bag 5014, GLADESVILLE  NSW 1675

Ph: (02) 9879 2600 
Fax (02) 9879 2699




Mental Illness Fellowship of WA 
Chief Executive, Monique Williamson
Street Address: Midland Professional Centre
Level 3, 9 The Avenue (cnr Keane & The Avenue) MIDLAND WA 6056
Mailing Address:  PO Box 1947

DC WA 6936
Ph: (08) 9237 8900 
Fax:  (08) 9250 7337




Mental Illness Fellowship of South Australia

Chief Executive, Natasha Miliotis

Street Address: 5 Cooke Terrace, WAYVILLE 5034

Mailing Address: PO Box 310, MARLESTON SA 5033

Ph: (08) 8378 4100 

Fax: 08 8378 4199




Mental Illness Fellowship of North Queensland 
Chief Executive, Jeremy Audas
Street Address: 59a Cambridge St, VINCENT QLD 4814

Mailing Address: PO Box 979, AITKENVALE QLD 4812 

Ph: (07) 4725 3664 
Fax:  (07) 4725 3819



Mental Health Carers Tasmania
Hobart office 

Executive Officer, Wendy Groot
Street Address: 1 St Johns Avenue, NEW TOWN TAS 7008

Ph: (03) 6228 7448 
Fax (03): 6228 7765



 MIFANT RGB Sep 2012

Mental Illness Fellowship Australia (NT)
Executive Officer, Lorraine Davies
Street Address: 1/18 Bauhinia Street, NIGHTCLIFF NT 0810

Mailing Address: PO Box 40556, CASUARINA NT 0811

Ph: (08) 89481051 
Fax 08 8948 2473




Mental Illness Fellowship of Queensland
Chief Executive, Tony Stevenson
Street Address: Gilchrist Ave (Cnr of Herston Road), Herston QLD 4006

Mailing Address:PO Box 22, Royal Brisbane Hospital LPO, Herston QLD 4029 

Ph: (07) 3358 4424 
Fax:  (07) 3254 1770


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Mental Health Foundation ACT
Executive Officer, Angie Ingram

Street Address: 11/70 McLaurin Crescent CHIFLEY ACT 2602

Ph: (02) 6282 6658 
Fax:  (02) 6282 6674











Chief Executive Officer: Cathy O’Toole

Street Address: 62-66 Charles Street, Aitkenvale, Qld 4814

Mailing Address: PO Box 189, Aitkenvale, Qld 4814

Ph: (07) 4724 6800




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BRIDGES Health & Community Care

Chief Executive Officer: Sharon Sarah

Mailing Address: PO Box 4, Bundaberg, Qld 4814

Ph: 1300 707 655




Our Board

Our Board

Please CLICK HERE to read our constitution 



Mick Reid
Independent Chair



Anthony Harris 
President - Schizophrenia Fellowship NSW



Kate Shipway 
Vice President - Mental Health Carers TAS



Ken Meissner

President - Mental Illness Fellowship QLD



Pat McLeod

President - Mental Illness Fellowship SA 



Ann White 
Representative - Mental Illness Fellowship WA



Bob James
President - Mental Illness Fellowship Northern QLD



Wendy Atkins
Reprsentative - Mental Health Foundation ACT



Bronwyn Russell
President - Mental Illness Fellowship Australia (NT)



Tom Ryan

President - SOLAS



Michelle McPhee

Representative - Bridges




Recent Events


Australian Schizophrenia Conference 2015 

The Australasian Schizophrenia Conference (ASC) held in Melbourne (23-25 September 2015) showcased a dazzling array of cutting edge science. ASC2015 was a partnership between the Schizophrenia International Research Society (SIRS) and the International Congress on Schizophrenia Research (ICoSR) led and under-written by Psychosis Australia.

The convenor, Prof Patrick McGorry assembled a stellar group of international and local speakers who covered the entire spectrum from basic neuroscience to practice based and service research. 

Read more of Stan Catts notes here





The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia, along with its members in every state and territory are working collaboratively to bring 4 advocacy training workshops –
‘Act Now on Mental Illness’ to venues across Australia.

Adelaide – Tuesday 5th May

Melbourne – Wednesday 6th may

Townsville – Friday 8th May

Sydney – Monday 11th May


We hope that these workshops are just the beginning of a wave of activities.

The education of people with lived experience of serious mental illness  about advocacy  to politicians includes the role of respect,  dignity, recovery and hope for a better quality of life. The advocates will learn about:

·         Clarity about our key messages and why it is important

·         Gaining better understanding of how to get the attention of politicians on your issue  

·         Increasing  confidence to approach and advocate directly to politicians

·         Learning to include your own story in your advocacy effectively

·         Understanding of the importance of reporting back on outcomes from visits

In the following months of 2015, including important dates in the mental illness calendar – Schizophrenia Awareness Week (17 to 23 May) and World Mental Health Day (10 October) the newly trained advocates will make their appointments and  meet with their local politician in their constituency offices with support from a MIFA member.

 Workshop Materials:

Briefing Note

Email Followup

Email for Appointment

The Ask

We hope to collect plenty of feedback on the experiences of the new advocates to:

·         help inform further advocacy activity

·         influence the work of MIFA and its members

·         support existing advocates

·         train additional advocates.


For more information contact the MIFA Office 08 8272 1018, or your local MIFA member (link to Members)      Media Contact: David Meldrum 0400 443 011 



World Mental Health Day, Friday 10th October 2014

Excerpts from – World Federation for Mental Health publication

‘Living with Schizophrenia ‘

The publication can be accessed in full at  


Dr. Patt Franciosi- Chair, World Mental Health Day – WFMH Board of Directors 2014

The World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) has chosen the theme “Living with Schizophrenia” for its 2014 World Mental Health Day campaign in order to highlight changes in current thinking about the illness.

WFMH established World Mental Health Day in 1992; World Mental Health Day is observed in many countries in all parts of the world on October 10 with local, regional and national public awareness events.

This year we are taking advantage of these observances to let people know about important changes in the way mental health professionals view the illness. At least 26 million people are living with schizophrenia worldwide according to the World Health Organization, and many more are indirectly affected by it. The illness affects a person’s well being, shortens life and is among the top causes of disability globally. It is often neglected and misunderstood. It imposes a heavy toll on the individuals who experience it, and their family members and caregivers. And the high level of stigma associated with schizophrenia is an added burden.


Janet Meagher AM Consumer Activist (Australia)

If we look at an ongoing journey to “recover” or deal with the impacts of living with schizophrenia, my journey requires that….

• I understand controlling my symptoms is possible; I embrace them but sideline them and learn ways of dealing with them, so that they no longer dominate my life.

• I dare to hope for a fulfilling life.

• I am able to take risks and learn from my actions.

• I can develop effective strategies to overcome my symptoms and disorganized tendencies.

• I can love and be loved by others regardless of my diagnosis or social shortcomings.

• I ought to participate because I have ideas and can offer inputs that are of value. Others should encourage this to develop confidence and bolster self esteem.

• I experience a usual range of stress, and need to plan for ways to overcome difficulties and document my progress with challenges.

• I can live independently and manage my life needs—with support from time to time if necessary.

• I am employable and able to aim at, earning and supporting myself.

• I am able to overcome the traumas and damage to my life and contribute to my community.

• I can hope and dream for the same ideals and opportunities, as others are free to do.


How do we work together to improve physical health in people with schizophrenia?

Dr Helen L Millar,  Consultant Psychiatrist Carseview Centre Scotland, United Kingdom & Professor Mohammed Abou-Saleh, St George’s, University of London United Kingdom

Lifestyle management for prevention of physical health problems.

Simple tips regarding changes in lifestyle can have a dramatic effect on long terms outcomes and life expectancy.

Cardio-protective Diet

• Cut down on fatty foods

• Increase fish intake

• Increase fruit and vegetables – five portions /day

• Decrease processed food,

• Minimise sugar/sugary drinks

Tip: Be more aware of healthy foods, learn to cook, go healthy food shopping.

Physical Activity

• 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days per week- a brisk walk for 30 minutes, 5 days/week.

• Change lifestyle to incorporate exercise - walking, using stairs, cycling

• Agree goals and provide written evidence about the benefits

Tip: It is not essential to join a gym but changing lifelong bad habits can make a dramatic difference - be more physically active!

Weight Management

• Offer advice on weight management and how to achieve a healthy weight and maintain it

Tip: set realistic targets for weight reduction and then maintain weight

Alcohol Consumption

• Advise men 3-4 units per day limit (no more than 21 units per week)

• Women 1- 2 units per day (no more than 14 units per week)

Tip: Avoid binge drinking - stick to the recommended units!

Smoking Cessation

• Advise all people to stop smoking

• Offer support and advice: include pharmacotherapy and smoking cessation

Tip: the best advice - stop!

Sexual Health

• Sexual health education to reduce high risk practices leading to sexually transmitted diseases.

Tip: use safe practices at all times


MIFA’s Contribution to ‘Living with Schizophrenia’– Mi Networks

Do you have a question about mental illness?

Are you looking for support in your local community but don’t know where to find it?

Let our experienced mental health workers provide you with up-to-date and relevant information about mental health concerns AND connect you with a wide range of local services and supports.

If someone you know or care about is living with a mental illness support is available-

Phone 1800 985 944     Web: www.minetworks.org.au


MIFA Information about the Lives of People Living With Schizophrenia

Excerpts from the Eli Lilly & Schizophrenia Fellowship of Australia publication ‘Turning Points’


The names of individuals have been changed in these transcripts

“Despite visits to different doctors, it took several years for Pam to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.”

“He used to be able to drink an entire case of beer in a day if he wanted to and would drink a bottle of beer like water. He is now much more controlled and will often sit out the back of our house with my boyfriend and they will have a beer together. He seems to like talking to guys more than girls because he will also spend a lot of time with my dad and speak to him about most things. He doesn’t speak to mum much anymore.”

“Jim also does some voluntary work in the community and is a member of Men’s Sheds, a not-for-profit organisation that helps deal with mental health issues by connecting men with their communities. He has also recently started looking for some paid work.”

“It got to the point where I knew intervention was necessary. A police officer and psychiatrist came to the house and forced Tim into rehabilitation, where he would spend the next four years. I felt a tremendous amount of guilt and questioned my decision, but deep down I knew it was the right thing for Tim.”

“Since receiving effective rehabilitation Tim can now live on his own. While he still struggles to keep the place clean, he does have more insight into his illness and when he starts not to feel well, he knows he needs to get out of the house.”

“He is such a lovely man who touches the lives of people who take the time to get to know him. His illness is just one part of him. While it has presented a lot of challenges for my partner and me, it has not diminished our relationship with Rob.”

“I think the biggest lesson I have taken from my experience is while just being a carer for a child with a mental illness seems simple enough, it can be the biggest challenge a person can face. The sense of loss is one of the hardest things to bear but I will never stop fighting for my beautiful son.”


World Suicide Prevention Day, Wednesday 10th September 2014

2014 wspd banner english

Excerpts from - International Association for Suicide Prevention publication - Suicide Prevention: One World Connected

The publication can be accessed in full http://www.iasp.info/wspd/index.php

Efforts to prevent suicide have been celebrated on World Suicide Prevention Day – September 10th

– each year since 2003. In 2014, the theme of World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Suicide Prevention: One World Connected.’ The theme reflects the fact that connections are important at several levels if we are to combat suicide.

Every year, over 800,000 people die from suicide; this roughly corresponds to one death every 40 seconds. The number of lives lost each year through suicide exceeds the number of deaths due to homicide and war combined.

Connectedness is crucial to individuals who may be vulnerable to suicide. Studies have shown that social isolation can increase the risk of suicide and, conversely, that having strong human bonds can be protective against it. Reaching out to those who have become disconnected from others and offering them support and friendship may be a life-saving act.

Connectedness can also be understood in terms of clinical care. Mental illness, particularly depression, is an important risk factor for suicide. Internationally, treatments for mental illness have improved, but access to these treatments remains unequal. 

Connectedness and collaboration between services is also important at this level in preventing suicide. The right service or individual clinician must be available at the right time for someone with mental health problems, and must be able to offer and deliver effectively the full range of treatment options.


Understanding the issue in Australia for People living with Mental Illness

During the comprehensive survey of people living with psychosis who are also in contact with community mental health services, it was reported that  49.5% of participants had attempted suicide at some point in their lifetime compared to 3.7% of the general population and 67% of people had thoughts about suicide at some time in their lives. Access Economics reported for SANE Australia in 2002 and estimated that over 40% of people with schizophrenia will attempt suicide at least once – 60% of males and 20% of females.

Studies suggest that between 6 and 13% of all people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia will die by suicide.

For people with serious mental illness, there is particular concern about the period after discharge from inpatient psychiatry units. Diego De Leo and Travis Heller reported in 2007 that  ‘The risk of suicide following discharge from psychiatric inpatient care is heightened in the first day, week, and year. For men, suicide figures in the first 28 days after discharge were 213 times greater than would be expected in the general population. At 12-months post discharge, suicide rates were 27 times higher among men and 40 times higher in women in comparison to the general male and female population respectively.’

Our Contribution to Connectedness - Mi Networks

  • Do you have a question about mental illness?
  • Are you looking for support in your local community but don’t know where to find it?

Let our experienced mental health workers provide you with up-to-date and relevant information about mental health concerns AND connect you with a wide range of local services and supports.
If someone you know or care about is living with a mental illness support is available-

Phone 1800 985 944     Web: www.minetworks.org.au

Our Contribution to Improving Support - Suicide Preventing Organisations

The Mental Illness Fellowship of Australia and SANE are working together to develop a suicide prevention audit tool based on the findings in the SANE publication Suicide Prevention and Recovery Guide. The tool will allow NGO mental health organisations to assess their current suicide prevention practices and work on improvements.

This will allow NGO’s to develop a comprehensive strategic plan for improving actions for people living with mental illness, families and friends, staff and communities about the issue of suicide.

The outcome of our project will be a tool that will lead to increased competency and capacity of community mental health organisations to support people living with mental illness and carers about the issue of suicide; a more aware, educated and supported workforce qualified in suicide prevention; the capacity to track performance of suicide prevention programs and to evaluate the impact of those programs over time. 


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