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J Adv Nurs. 1998 Apr;27(4):713-20.

Is befriending by trained volunteers of value to people suffering from long-term mental illness?

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School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting, University of Manchester, England.


People who suffer from long term mental illness may be vulnerable to loneliness and isolation when living in community settings. Befriending by volunteers may be an effective way of combating such problems and helping clients to develop social networks. The findings of a small scale project to evaluate the views of people suffering from long term mental illness of an organized befriending scheme are reported. Nine subjects who suffer from severe mental illness were interviewed, all subjects felt befriending was helpful to them, and 67% of subjects thought it had improved their confidence when in social situations. Subjects who lived alone indicated a preference to see volunteers at home, whilst those who lived with carers preferred support in going out socially. The value of befriending schemes as part of community care services for this needy client group are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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