Mental-health recovery … through the healing power of friendship

Compeer FriendsAt any given time, between 30 and 45 million Americans suffer from a mental illness that requires professional treatment. Often, they are linked by the common denominator of devastating loneliness, isolation, and the intense misunderstanding associated with mental illnesses. The help they need on the road to recovery is often more than traditional therapy can offer. They need the support of a friend. They need a Compeer friend.

Compeer means companion, friend, equal. The Breakthrough House Compeer Program seeks to alleviate this pervasive isolation, loneliness, and misunderstanding through volunteer outreach efforts involving social/community support in non-therapeutic settings. It is a professionally managed effort that matches trained community volunteers with mental
health consumers in a variety of supportive relationships.

What Training Do Volunteers Receive?

Once a volunteer has been screened and accepted into the program, they receive approximately two and a half hours of training, plus the opportunity to participate in regular volunteer outings. The goal of this training is to prepare the volunteer to function effectively in their new role by reviewing the guidelines and expectations of the Compeer program with them, discussing relationship-building techniques, and giving an overview of mental illness, including instruction on how to respond to a crisis situation. Once the volunteer has been placed in a match, ongoing oversight is provided and advice and consultation are available when needed.

Who Does Compeer Serve?

Youth ages 5-18 in Shawnee County who are considered to be at-risk or emotionally disturbed.

Who benefits from Compeer?

Friendship is a reciprocal relationship where each person gives and receives. While the Compeer match provides the opportunity for the volunteer to make an important difference in the life of their Compeer friend, the volunteer will soon realize how much they benefit from sharing in this unique relationship, as well. And the community benefits from Compeer because the program serves as a supplement to community services, decreases hospitalizations, eases stress on families of youth who are emotionally disturbed, and creates community understanding and awareness of mental health needs.

How Do I Volunteer?

If you’re 18 or older and wish to be a volunteer, just follow these steps:

  1. Call or write for Compeer information.
  2. Complete a Compeer volunteer application, available online.
  3. Participate in program orientation.
  4. Attend training sessions with other volunteers
  5. Choose your Compeer friend. Volunteers are matched with youth of the same gender who share mutual interests and are available during convenient times.
  6. Meet with your Compeer friend’s mental health professional.
  7. Meet your friend and begin what will be an enjoyable and rewarding experience.
  8. Continued support is provided. Compeer staff and mental health professionals are always available to answer your questions and concerns.

Contact Information

Cheri Faunce
Compeer Mentoring Program Director

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Call: 785-232-6807 x304
Cell: 785-806-3476
Fax: 785-232-0751


Rachel Sutton
Compeer Mentoring Coordinator

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Call: 785-232-6807 x305
Fax: 785-232-0751

Your friendship can make all the difference in the life of a youth or adult who
is working to overcome a mental illness.

Become a Compeer Volunteer today!



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