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St Vincent de Paul Society Seeks Volunteers for Mental Health Program

Compeer, an award winning mental health  program run by the St Vincent de Paul Society seeks volunteers aged over 50

The program is designed to break down the stigma associated with mental illness by using 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.

Volunteers meet with the people living with a mental illness for a minimum of four hours a month as a way of providing social interaction and breaking down the isolation.

Following an accident that left him out of action for seven weeks, Jim began thinking about the many people who, through illness or injury, lose contact with family and friends and find themselves lonely and isolated. He soon discovered compere being in his mid-fifties, was matched with similarly aged Thomas. Two and a half years on and neither of them have looked back.

“We meet up once a week for coffee to catch up on what has been happening with our families, work, sport, politics, music, and anything that comes up,” Jim says. “Occasionally we go and see a movie or a performance as well. “Over time we have gotten to know each other much better.”

Having no experience with mental illness before, Jim has developed a greater understanding about people living with a mental illness and a great love of volunteering since volunteering with Compeer.

“I did not expect to get such a great sense of satisfaction in doing something for someone else. “It is very rewarding,” he said.

Compeer is in need of volunteers over fifty. For more information, contact Compeer on (02) 9568 0295 or compeer@vinnies.org.au