Mental Health Services

Connections Program


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About Us

The Connections Program is a one-to-one social support program for people with a mental illness. This social support is provided by screened and appropriately trained volunteers. The Connections Program follows a strengths-based recovery-oriented model to reduce stigma associated with mental illness, social isolation and to increase positive self-perception. Our aim is to set up safe and supportive structured friendships enabling people who may be isolated to reconnect with the broader community.

The Connections staff work in collaboration with mental health consumers (participants), volunteers, relevant health professionals, and family and/or friends to encourage the participant to reconnect with the community.

Before introducing a volunteer and participant the Connections staff consider the following variables:

- locality of each person - compatibility, interests, hobbies - personality types and ages - ability to contribute to a two-way conversation - understanding of/exposure to mental illness - matching preferences expressed by the participant and volunteer

Once a volunteer/participant match has been considered, the Connections Program staff facilitate an introduction meeting. This meeting presents an opportunity for the volunteer and participant to meet, share some information about each other and consider how they can work together to achieve three activities nominated by the participant when joining the Program.

Following the introduction our volunteers and participants collectively organise regular meet-up times/activities, engage in conversations and share many laughs together while in the community.

The ongoing success of the Program is the result of the work and commitment of our volunteers. Without their highly valued contribution the great social outcomes achieved would not be possible.

Quick Facts About The Region

VolunteeringACT is located in the suburbs of Canberra Central and City, the council of Canberra and the federal electorate of Canberra.