What is Compeer?
Compeer (companion+peer) is an award-winning volunteer program that uses the power of friendship to help people recovering from mental illness live happier, more satisfying lives by reducing social isolation and increasing the likelihood of community integration. The Compeer program is a complement to traditional therapy.
Compeer recruits, screens and matches volunteers with people experiencing mental health or emotional issues. 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.
What is SouthCoast Compeer?
SouthCoast Compeer is a local affiliate of Compeer International. We are based at UMass Dartmouth and managed by an all-volunteer advisory board. Our chapter serves Fall River, New Bedford, Taunton, and the surrounding towns.
Compeer participants are referred by mental health professionals who are actively involved in their treatment. Referrals can be made by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation counselors or other mental health professionals.
Ninety-two percent of clients and referring professionals and ninety-four percent of volunteers report positive outcomes of the Compeer program:
- decrease in expensive crisis services
- greater stability in housing
- improved resistance to drugs and alcohol
- better self-esteem and communications skills
- more receptivity to medication and therapy
- cost effectiveness
These positive outcomes are among the many areas that make Compeer attractive in this era of healthcare systems transformation and the expectations around mental health recovery.
Compeer staff recruit, train, match, and support volunteers. They are available to speak to church, civic and social organizations about Compeer. Southcoast Compeer can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 508.999.8843 or 508.542.0203.
How Can You Help?
Become a Volunteer • Join the Advisory Board • Make a Donation
Without sensitive, caring volunteers and some financial assistance to recruit, train and match them with consumers, Compeer would not exist.
Students at UMass Dartmouth and Bristol Community College may receive academic credit for being Compeer volunteers. Psychology, social work, crime and justice, nursing, pre-med and pre-law students may find the Compeer experience professionally, as well as personally, valuable. The UMass Dartmouth nursing program and psychology department are offering the Compeer experience as a one-credit experiential course entitled "An Experiential Look at Mental Illness." Learn more about how to register for this course and its requirements.
The Advisory Board raises funds, coordinates program publicity, assists in volunteer recruitment and training, sponsors volunteer appreciation events, and solicits access to free and low cost recreational and cultural events for Compeer pairs. To be an Advisory Board member you do not need a background in mental health—just enthusiasm and an interest in helping. We particularly need board members to recruit volunteers and to run fundraising events.
You can contribute to Compeer's mission by making a donation online through the UMass Dartmouth website. Be sure to specify where you want your donation to go (UMD SouthCoast Compeer) by using the drop down menu on the second page of the electronic form. If you would like to make a donation by mail, please fill out this form and mail it to the address specified on the form.
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