Coronavirus stress creating a need for volunteers to call the mental health population of WNY

Posted at 4:00 AM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 15:08:38-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Compeer is an organization that promotes good mental health among adults, youth, seniors, and veterans through supportive relationships.

This mentorship pairs an individual living with a mental illness, with someone willing to chat and be a friend to them.

During COVID-19, that program has had to come to a halt, and the phone buddies program has taken center stage.

"The difference that it makes for people who are receiving these phone calls on a regular basis who otherwise would not, I think it's been, in a way, life changing for them," Heidi Billittier, Compeer Director of Adult services said.

The phone buddies program involves a volunteer calling an individual on the phone, just to talk and ask them how things are going.

With people stuck in their homes, it can be an invaluable interaction.

"Having someone calling in and checking in on them will help them immensely with their mental health," Tim Boling, CEO of Compeer said. "[The call] has a direct relationship on their physical health. For the volunteer, the person who called, you'll get as much out of this as the person you are being matched with."

Compeer is in need of help.

With so many people in need of interaction, they need volunteers to make phone calls.

It is not a huge commitment, and can be done by anyone after an interview and training period.

"During a time like this we need more help because we are getting more and more requests from people in need of services," Billittier said.

Compeer usually asks for a one year commitment to being a phone buddy, but due to their extreme need of volunteers, they are changing to short-term commitments.

If you would like to volunteer, visit the Compeer website here.