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The purpose of the Friend-to-Friend? project is to help individuals with psychiatric disabilities become integrated into the social and recreational life of their community. he Friend-to-Friend? initiative of the Foundation for Mental Health is modeled after a highly successful project, entitled "The Partnership Project," conducted by the Yale School of Medicine in the early to mid 1990's. This project offered people with psychiatric disabilities who were socially isolated the opportunity to become friends with a volunteer from the community who agreed to join this person in social and recreational community activities of mutual interest. This research demonstrated that having a partner lessens the loneliness and isolation experienced by those with mental illness due to the stigma and rejection they face in trying to take part in community activities enjoyed by the general public.
Volunteers spend 2 to 4 hours per week with a partner, sharing such activities as going shopping, bowling, or to a movie, taking an adult education course, attending a social function, or having a bite to eat or a cup of coffee. Volunteers are not expected to provide counseling or other mental health services to their partners, nor are they expected to give their partners money or other items. They are only expected to offer their time and friendship - two important and generous gifts.
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