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.
- 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.