In 1907 Emily Paterson, her mother and aunt began inviting the “inmates” (as they were then called) of Gladesville Mental Hospital, across the way from their home at Rockend, to attend musical afternoons. This eventually led to the creation of Aftercare, by Emily, her friend Hester McDougall, and Hester’s husband, Dr. Herbert McDougall, with a mission to assist discharged patients to get a fresh start in life.  In the succeeding 110 years Aftercare grew to become a national leader in the provision of non-government mental health services and now offers over 54 programs in Australia’s 3 largest states, assisting over 12,000 people last year alone.

Because of its reputation as well as its inclusive culture Aftercare continues to attract a diverse range of staff, volunteers and students who are highly skilled, passionate and talented – and who want to help make a difference. Aftercare also fosters and conducts evidenced based research and forges new and transformative partnerships across corporate, government and social services.

This history has been narrated in detail in Aftercare, Our Journey – 1907-2017, released at the Aftercare Annual General Meeting on 9th November 2017 at The Apprentice Restaurant, Sydney. “In this archive, Aftercare’s 110 year journey – and that of the mental health sector in this country – unfolds. The organisation 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,” said John Thomas, Aftercare Chairman.

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