Experience – Befriending

Befriending helps to rebuild enthusiasm for life

I am 44 and suffer from Bi-Polar and IBS and so had gradually withdrawn myself away from society.

My befriender has given my confidence a tremendous boost and I now get out more. Certainly the more I stayed in, the fear of going out increased.

We have a lot in common and get on really well. I am so glad my CPN, Grace Watson from Westbank, encouraged me to be considered for befriending.

I have had my befriender for a year and have really enjoyed my time with her and feel my mood and general enthusiasm for life have improved.

I’d recommend befriending to anyone who, like me, had become pretty isolated.

Received: February 2014

Tags: Anxiety, Befriending, Bipolar Disorder, Isolation and Loneliness
26/05/2014 at 7:24 pm

Projects helping to provide much needed respite for families

After years of suffering enduring mental Heath problems my Dad was referred to FDAMH over a year ago with a hope to be granted a befriender. Within a few months he received a letter from Stuart to say he would visit him at home with a colleague. I met with Stuart at my dad’s on this date and we discussed my dad’s needs ensuring he was given choices at every step of the way. Stuart spoke about the service FDAMH provide and through talking, my Dad agreed to join one of the social groups within the service. Since this time my dad has faithfully attended the group which he really enjoys.This enables him to interact with others with the same problems and also gives him something to look forward too.My dad was then introduced to his befriender who he meets up with once a fortnight.My dad has shared he enjoys the one-to-one interaction. As a carer to my dad for the last 30 years I feel FDAMH has given me some respite and has encouraged my dad to have a purpose in life.

On behalf of myself and my dad I can’t thank you enough.

Provided: April 2014

Tags: Befriending, Drop-In, Isolation and Loneliness
26/05/2014 at 7:11 pm

Rebuilding self-esteem and personal friendships through befriending

I would like to write a few words of thanks. Not only to my own befriender who has helped me through a difficult time in my life, but to all the volunteers who take up this position. It’s hard to define the true essence or value I apply to such a simple thing as gaining a friend – even if it is for just a short while. A friend who sees the person they’ve befriended for who they are and not what they are.

I would also say the impact on the feelings of isolation I have had because of my mental illness have been greatly alleviated by the social interactions between my befriender and I. I believe that this is one of the most priceless gifts a befriending scheme can offer and with that simple gift there are many avenues for self-improvement to be found.

Since I started with the befriending scheme at FDAMH I have found that my confidence has increased. My self-esteem has increased and my general wellbeing has increased. I have gained so many things that it is difficult to quantify the values in such a short letter. There is one other benefit that I would like to mention. It’s the rebuilding of personal friendships in my private life because of the increase in self worth and the desire to get back on the saddle again.

The befriending scheme made me feel human again and you just can’t put a value on feeling human. It’s priceless. Thanks


Tags: Befriending, Isolation and Loneliness
27/11/2013 at 6:50 pm

Befriending can tackle isolation by helping to build life skills

I suffer from Schizophrenia and Depression. So it was suggested that I should join the Befriending Scheme, to overcome my problems of isolation, low self-esteem, poor social skills, lack of confidence and motivation.

At work I would concentrate on the job, working by myself, taking no breaks and not talking to anyone. Then when at home, living by myself, I would go to bed, turning night into day which meant that I had poor attendance at work. The entire weekend was spent in bed, watching TV, listening to my CD’s or spending time on my computer, with no interest in going out.

This has changed as a result of befriending – going out once a week to meet someone who cares about my wellbeing, in social settings has encouraged me to go out more. The advice given to me on how to think positively has built up my confidence, so that I now go on work’s outings and parties.

I no longer stay in bed. I am in my work on time and get up at 9 am at weekends, to visit (my sibling) in another town. My job performance, once rated poor, is now classed as excellent, because I now joke with workmates and help them out if they have a difficult task.

All of this is an outcome of befriending – tips on how to share common interests, how to keep a conversation going and setting myself goals – by taking things one step at a time. This has been the type of advice given by my befriender.

Tags: Befriending, Depression, Isolation and Loneliness, Schizophrenia
27/11/2013 at 6:33 pm

‘Befriending’ produces great results – even if you don’t like the name!

My experience of the Befriending Scheme is one that I really enjoyed. I was quite dubious about it at first as I was not sure what to expect. The word “befriending” made me feel unsure and at present I still do not like the name.

After being matched, and then after our first meeting, I knew straight away that we would get on as I regard myself as a good judge of character. I would have realised straight away if it was not right for me.

During our first meeting we found we had a great deal in common and could talk easily to one another. This friendship developed and, even though I’m older, we both learned from each other and also share similar interests. It never really occurred to me that someone was befriending me — we were just friends.

Who would have thought this time last year that I would now be enjoying listening to Bob Dylan! Now that the title has been dropped, we still keep in touch by telephone to arrange to go out somewhere.

Overall this has been a great learning experience and has helped boost my confidence to then go to college and also attend various courses. Finally my conclusion is that if you are matched with the right person, then I strongly believe the Befriending Scheme would be very rewarding for both parties concerned.

Tags: Befriending
27/11/2013 at 6:29 pm

Befriending, feedback from a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN)

I am writing to provide feedback on the success of the befriending service. Due to illness my patient had become very socially isolated. FDAMH carefully matched him with a befriender with similar interests. His befriender was also very flexible which is indeed required when working with someone with fluctuating mental health. The result of the befriending experience is that he keeps in touch with his befriender as a friend. He has a renewed interest in photography and is more confident socially. He has also applied for and been introduced to another befriender.

When treating people with severe and enduring mental health problems much more than medication is required. Their need for socialisation is also incredibly important. As not everyone we see is able to join groups the individual approach the befriending service offers is invaluable. I would like to again express my appreciation for the services you offer.

Tags: Befriending, Isolation and Loneliness
26/11/2013 at 9:06 pm