Befriending involves volunteering to spend time with someone, offering support, encouragement and time to listen. The people who use Mind in Harrow's befriending service have experienced severe mental distress, and are lonely and isolated. They come from different age groups, backgrounds and communities, and have encountered difficulties of various kinds.
As part of the befriending role, you can help someone to develop their interests, get out and about, make new contacts, and above all to feel more comfortable with another person. Befriending is not counselling, nor are you expected to go beyond the role as it is defined below. It is a chance to use your friendship skills in a different and worthwhile way, while maintaining appropriate boundaries to protect both you and the client.
You must be able to commit to volunteering for two hours per week for one year for each client, as well as a two day training course. You must also have the following attributes:
- Reliable and able to give time on a regular basis
- Patient and a good listener
- Able to accept people as they are
- Understanding of mental health issues
Experience of mental distress, either your own or someone close to you, can be helpful but is not essential. Many previous befrienders have taken part in the scheme to gain experience for a career in mental health care.
We are looking for volunteers from all groups in the community, and of all ages and backgrounds. We are particularly keen to receive applications from male volunteers, as they are currently underrepresented in our pool of befrienders.
If you are interested in becoming a befriender, please get in contact with us via the following details so that we can discuss your application.
The next befriending training course will take place on;
Thursday 24th October 2019 9.30am-3.30p.m. and
Saturday 26th October 2019 from 10a.m.-3.30p.m.
If you are unable to attend this one, so please call if you are interested and we can keep you up to date regarding further training dates. Please note you must attend both days of training.
Meg Hegarty – Befriending Scheme Coordinator
Telephone: 020 8515 7852
Email: [email protected]
You can also call our general office number on 020 8426 0929 and ask for a member of the befriending team.