What is Compeer International?
Compeer International (Compeer) is an award-winning, community-based, mental health program that matches trained volunteers in friendship with individuals experiencing mental health conditions. “Compeer” means a companion who is also a peer or equal.
Originating in Rochester, New York in 1978, Compeer was developed, to decrease the dollars being drained from community coffers due to after-hours emergency room and special services. It was found that the primary need of those individuals seeking care was often loneliness.
Loneliness, failure, fear and loss of self-esteem are universal experiences of those who experience a mental illness. A caring friend can help restore joy and hope to a life that is often empty of both. Compeer matches caring, sensitive and trained volunteers with mental health service recipients in one-to-one friendship relationships, as well as groups of persons.
Compeer participants have shown increased adherence and participation in their recovery treatment plan, and a decreased use of hospital emergency rooms.
Participants also show improvements in self-esteem, self-reliance, trust, social skills, decreased isolation, and educational and vocational goals.
As members of Compeer, even those without a 1:1 match, have opportunities to participate in monthly activities and form lasting friendships.
Link to the Compeer International Website