MIFWA is an independent community based mental health organisation with 30 years’ experience supporting people with a lived experience of mental health challenges, their families, and carers across Western Australia.
Starting out in 1980 as a grassroots support group for families, the Cebula, Kovich, Stitfold, and Ursich families started meeting at each other’s homes with a shared purpose and vision: to improve the lives of their children diagnosed with schizophrenia by developing better support services and promoting more understanding about mental health challenges in the community.
In 1990 the Schizophrenia Fellowship of WA (the Fellowship) was officially incorporated as an association, and by 1994 The Fellowship’s first service, the Lorikeet Clubhouse, was developed in Shenton Park.
By 1996, funding was provided to facilitate Carer Support Services and the Fellowship appointed Executive Officer was appointed, and in 2002 the Fellowship changed its name to the Mental Illness Fellowship of WA (MIFWA).
MIFWA has since grown to assist 2,500 people annually with a workforce of 200 people across the Perth Metro and Regional areas of WA with a focus on:
- Working alongside people affected by mental health issues in a way that is meaningful to them,
- Promoting acceptance and understanding of mental health in the community, and
- Becoming a leader in innovation and systemic reform in mental health service delivery.
For over 30 years, MIFWA has been at the forefront of innovative approaches that have significantly improved the mental health system in WA including:
- Lorikeet Centre – WA’s first community centre ‘clubhouse’, for 26 years Lorikeet has contributed to the recovery of hundreds of West Australians experiencing mental health challenges
- Our award-winning Wellways peer education programs – making a difference to the lives of many families and carers
- Hospital to Home, a peer-led service supports people who have been in hospital due to mental distress to return home following a hospital stay, and
- Training by people with Lived Experience – including Mental Health First Aid (face-to-face and now in a blended online learning environment), Youth Mental Health First Aid, Suicide Prevention Training (safeTALK), as well as customised training tailored to community need.