Australia’s longest serving mental health service provider

Established in 1907 by Emily Paterson, Aftercare is the longest serving mental health services organisation in Australia.

From our beginning as an outreach service for those leaving Gladesville Mental Hospital in 1907, Aftercare has provided inclusive support services, based on the idea that each individual is a valuable member of the community. Our role remains the same today- to facilitate those with a mental health concerns to find a pathway to wellness.

Over the past 110 years, we have grown to become a national leader in the provision of non-government mental health services and now offer over 54 programs in 3 states. We also conduct cutting edge research and forge new and transformative partnerships across corporate, government and social services.Because of our reputation and our inclusive culture, Aftercare continues to attract diverse staff, volunteers and students who are highly skilled, passionate and talented – and who want to help make a difference.

Aftercare continues to change and innovate, as it has done since the very beginning. Our vision, values and mission remain focused on the road ahead and on helping others on the journey to mental wellness, as we have done, since 1907.

Who was Emily Paterson ?

Emily Paterson (b. 1864) grew up on the family property ‘Rockend’ at Gladesville. As a child she suffered ill health and as a result she lost her eyesight. Despite this, she lived an independent life and was a talented pianist and composer. As her home was opposite the Gladesville Mental Hospital, Emily took to visiting the female patients and often invited them to Rockend to have afternoon tea and enjoy musical afternoons. She formed strong relationships with these women, but became concerned about the many patients discharged from hospital that had no family, friends, money and nowhere to go. Emily recognised that there were no other services, Government or private, providing any assistance.

In 1907 Emily proposed the formation of Aftercare. On 3 July 1907, at meeting attended by 15 people in a bookshop on York St, the Aftercare Association was formed.

It is now more than a century later and the focus of our work has not changed. Aftercare’s continued strength has always resided in the people the association supports, the dedicated staff who have given generously of their time and the many volunteer board members who have served throughout the years. We remain committed to supporting people with mental health concerns, and their carers, to live meaningful and productive lives, free from discrimination.