Mental Health Services
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.
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Volunteering and Contact ACT is both the peak body for volunteering and the volunteer support service for the ACT, and the key source for the Canberra community to access accurate information on, and referral to, Canberra’s community services and programs. Our vision is to foster a community enriched by volunteering and empowered by reliable information. Volunteering and Contact ACT is the result of the merger during 2014-15 of Volunteering ACT and CONTACT Canberra Community Information (formerly the Citizens Advice Bureau ACT).Visit VOLUNTEERING AND CONTACT ACT website