Key events in mental health peer work


Alleged Lunatics’ Friend Society (Britain)


formed by ex-patients in Britain

Clifford Beers’ autobiography A Mind That Finds Itself: A memoir of madness and recovery is published


This account of his hospitalization and the abuses he suffered gained the support of the medical profession and others in the work to reform the treatment of the mentally ill.

Victorian Association for Mental Health established


Established to give public voice to concerns - VIC Australia

Relatives of the Mentally Ill Association established (Queensland)


GROW founded (Sydney)


GROW is a peer supported program for growth and personal development of people with a ‘mental illness’ and those experiencing difficulty in coping with life’s challenges

'Ex-inmates' meetings (USA)

Approx. 1960 - 1969

In the 1960s in the US, mental health advocacy groups (called ‘ex-inmates’) meet regularly for mutual support and ‘consciousness-raising’. Activists are involved in ‘civil disobedience’, chaining themselves to gates of mental hospitals and liberating ‘patients’ by walking out the doors of hospitals with them

CAPIC (Australia) established

Approx. 1960 - 1969

First consumer organisation in Australia Campaign Against Psychiatric Injustice and Coercion (CAPIC) established

NSW ARAFMI founded


Association of Relatives and Friends of the Mentally Ill (ARAFMI) support group

Council on the Ageing NSW forms the Carers Committee


In 1980 this becomes an independent body The Carers Association of NSW.

The Carers Association of NSW (now Carers NSW) founded


This is the first Carers Association in Australia and the world. In 1997 this will become Carers NSW.