Befrienders are carefully selected[1] volunteers, from a variety of organisations and mental health charities, who are trained to provide support and companionship to lonely, or emotionally distressed, people.[2] Befrienders will usually visit for an hour or so per week.[3] The meeting is usually arranged to suit the person's needs, either at home, or at a neutral venue. Some befriending schemes include social events, creative classes, or self-help groups.[2]


Training can take upwards of 10 weeks before a befriender is allocated a case.[4] During the befriending process, continuous support is provided, through regular group meetings and individual meetings with a coordinator.[3] Befrienders assignments are chosen on the basis of ethnicity, gender (normally same sex as the person requiring help[2]), age and specific needs of the befriendee.[5]


Unlike professional careers, such as social workers, befrienders can become emotionally involved with their case, which often results in a more positive outcome as they are able to engage at a much deeper level.[6]

See also


  1. ^ Leff, J.P., Warner, R. (2006) Social inclusion of people with mental illness p.96. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-61536-4. Retrieved October 2011.
  2. ^ a b c Hewitt, R.D'O. (2007) Moving on: a guide to good health and recovery for people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, p.99. Karnac Books. ISBN 1-85575-442-8. Retrieved October 2011.
  3. ^ a b Susan Balloch, S., Hill, M.J. (2007) Care, community and citizenship: research and practice in a changing policy context p.203. The Policy Press. ISBN 1-86134-870-3. Retrieved October 2011.
  4. ^ Abel, K. (1996) Planning community mental health services for women: a multiprofessional handbook p.229. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-11456-X. Retrieved October 2011.
  5. ^ Somerville, P., Steele, A. (2002) Race, housing and social exclusion p.186. Jessica Kingsley Publishers. ISBN 1-85302-849-5. Retrieved October 2011.
  6. ^ Newton, J. (1997) Preventing Mental Illness in Practice p.11. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-11993-6. Retrieved October 2011.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.