January 24, 2007

Schizophrenia Peer Support Program Launched in Canada

Read more... Schizophrenia Coping

The Schizophrenia Society of British Columbia (BCSS), Canada recently launched a well designed peer support program for individuals and families who suffer from schizophrenia. They've made their entire support information and program documents available for free on their web site also so that other support groups can use them and learn from them.

The program matches volunteers with persons who are family members of persons with a serious and persistent mental illness. The volunteers, who are also family members of a person with a mental illness, provide peer listening and some information during a weekly phone call or visit.

Talking to someone who has been through what you are going to can be a big help, and can help a person feel hopeful and figure out how to look after themselves as well as care for their ill family member or friend. Volunteers are not counselors, but they share the experience of supporting a person with a mental illness and can empathize with the feelings and concerns involved. They may offer useful information about programs and services that are available to help.

The program focuses on making the volunteer experience a rewarding and useful one for volunteers, as well as providing useful help to the buddies volunteers are matched with. Each 'match' lasts for up to 8 contacts.

The pilot testing went very well and the program materials are offered here to organizations who would like to offer this service in their region.

The program is not intended to replace support groups, but to provide support to people who prefer to speak one-on-one with someone about their situation or are unable to attend a support group.

For More information: Schizophrenia - Family Peer Support Buddy Program


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