compeer program

Information taken from : http://www.vinnies.org.au/mental-health-in-compeer-act

Compeer means companion who is also a peer or equal.

Compeer is an award winning mental health volunteer program that helps break down the stigma associated with mental illness through friendship and social support.

 Friendship is a Powerful Medicine

Compeer is a volunteer support and social program that uses the power of friendship to help people with mental illnesses live happier, more satisfying lives. The program recruits, screens, and matches volunteers with people recovering from mental illness.

Many Compeer participants have experienced the devastating effects of mental illness resulting in loneliness and social isolation. The Compeer program is a compliment to traditional therapy. A Compeer friendship can make a substantial improvement in a participant’s self-worth – a key ingredient in bringing a person back into the mainstream of community life.

 Compeer

 Our Goals

  • To assist individuals with mental illnesses with their recovery through supportive friendships and community connections.
  • To help combat the stigma associated with mental illnesses by engaging community members in relationships with people who have a psychiatric disability.
  • To offer volunteers an opportunity for personal growth and satisfaction through helping others.

Being a Compeer Volunteer

The Compeer volunteer has the power to change the life of someone who is in mental health recovery stage through the power of friendship. Unlike most volunteer work, the Compeer experience allows one person to have a direct impact of the life of another. The Compeer volunteer engenders acceptance, empathy, nurturance and compainionship, and as a result, “Compeer friends” feel better about themselves as the relationship evolves.

The Compeer volunteer is an adult, who is over the 18 years of age, and gives a minimum of 4 hours each month for a commitment of a minimum of 12 months to build a friendship with someone in need.

 Screening and Training

Volunteer training is designed to communicate to prospective volunteers the guidelines and expectations of the program, and to prepare them to function effectively in their role as volunteers. The depth and quality of training and level of support from the Compeer Co-ordinator and health professionals provide the volunteers with the tools they need for their special “friendship”.

 Being a Compeer Friend

Compeer provides friendship opportunities outside a clinical setting, focused on matching people referred by their chosen health professional to be “matched” with a volunteer who is caring and compassionate.

Consumers are in the recovery phase of their illness and are referred to Compeer by their psychiatrist, counsellor, social worker, therapist, nurse, case manager, and general practitioners. Compeer provides rehabilitative social support that reduces isolation and lonelieness of people receiving mental health services.

If you are receiving treatment from a health professional and you have an interest in the Compeer program, please contact the Compeer Co-ordinator or ask your health professional to contact the Co-ordinator to obtain and application from our office.

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my depression

I am happy to say that my depression left me towards the end of 2012 and hasnt come back.

I cant remember when it lifted, but I am very relieved.

It makes such a difference.

That was when I realised that my energy levels werent related to my depression and that something else was not working properly.

When I read some of your blogs and see that you are still struggling, I wish I could tell how I got rid of my depression, so yours would go away as well.

I dont know how long it has gone for if it will come back, as it has come back a few times and this last bout was about two and a half years.

Fingers crossed it never comes back or at least I get a good break from it, so I dont have to struggle with life so much.

The only positive of experiencing depression, anxiety and panic attacks, is it has made me more aware of what other people are going through and more understanding of people in general.

So I want to help others with similar issues, as I know about the stigma from those in society who have been lucky enough not to experience what we go through, so therefore thing we are all a bit crazy.

I do my Induction Course for  Compeering early February and then at some point St. Vincents will find someone suitable and I can become there companion and hopefully help them get back into society.  Most of the people that are in this program suffer from Schizophrenia or Bi Polar.  I will keep you updated on my Compeering.

 

the first step

I finally had my interview for the Compeer volunteer job.

The lady was really nice and it seemed to go well.

The next step for them is to do a police check, but as I already work for Government I have had one before, so that should not be an issue.  I dont think I have broken law since 🙂

Next February I do an Induction Course for 1 day.

When they find someone compatible, I have to meet their therapist and then if all that goes well, I meet the person.

Most people who require a “friend” have been struggling with Bipolar and Schizophrenia.  I read a few blogs here that are written by people with Bipolar and read a few autobiographies as well, so am more familiar with this.  I will have to read up on the Schizophrenia a bit more.

A very long process, which will make sure that all goes well.

There is also a Suicide Awareness course I could do next year, which sounds interesting.  It will be interesting to see it from the counseling side rather than the person thinking about it.

Should all be very interesting.

 

mid week update – not much to tell…

All of Monday morning I had a sore stomach and felt nauseous all day.

On Tuesday I was feeling better and was only tired from going to bed around midnight.

I received my applications forms and police check forms for the voluntary compeer job.

I rang the lady who was the contact to ask if it mattered that I have depression and anxiety issues.

She advised that it definitely wouldnt be a factor that would stop me from volunteering.  Im glad she said that, I was a bit worried that I would be able to volunteer because of it.  I think suffering with these conditions is one of the reasons I volunteered.  I understand what it is like and also understand the stigma of having a mental illness in society.

She advised we would discuss it in the interview and they would have my therapist as a contact.  I advised her I dont have a therapist, that I control it only with medication.

If you get accepted after the interview, there is a two day course to complete.

Should be interesting.

Other than the compeer update, there is not much to tell so far this week. A bit blah really.

When I get home I just want to sleep (but what’s new), I guess going to bed after 11pm does not help.  I will have to try to get  to bed earlier.

I find it hard to go to bed early.  I always seem to find something to do to pass the time and end up going to bed late and cant get out of bed in the morning.

But other than that, this week has been OK.

Hope all your weeks are going OK.

fulfilling

After my little cocktail party on Saturday night, not surpisingly, I didnt get up until middayish and did not leave the house or do too much.

I did surf the internet, read some blogs and watch the last episode of Season One of The Newsroom and Episode Two of Season Five of Sons of Anarchy.

After reading a fellow bloggers blog recently (im sure it was Lisa from forcing myself happy – one of my favourite blogs)  about having a an older pensioner couple in her life when she was was growing up, it brought back a memory out of the deep, dark archives of my brain.  A memory I had forgotten for years.

When I was growing up, there was an older later that lived up the hill (Mrs Brady). I used to go up to visit her quite regularly.  I either met her on my way up to a friends house or met her through my friend.

I used to visit and I loved Mrs Brady.  She lived alone.  I think her husband had passed away at some point.  We used to chat and hang out in her house or in the garden.  I dont really remember what we did or talked about, but I know I loved going over there.

I miss having that in my life.  My Mum and Nan are no longer around.  I would like to have someone like that in my life.

So, I registered with Adopt A Pensioner.  I remember seeing it on a TV show last year and I never got around to registering.  It’s not about money.  It is someone you can become friends with and visit them for a cuppa, help in the garden or around the house, help pick up shopping, or just be a friend to someone who is lonely.  You are put on their database and a pensioner can pick you from the database on the website and contact you via email.

I also registered for a Compeer volunteer, which entails becoming a friend with someone who has been isolated due to a mental illness and is trying to make their way back into life I guess.

 

I cant easily change my job due to financial needs and if I start a new career then I would probably have a drop in pay due to being new in that field, so this was the next best thing I could think of.

It’s worth a try.