APCMH Merton and Sutton provides a voluntary one-to-one befriending service for adults with mental health problems living in the community within the London Boroughs of Merton and Sutton and adjoining districts. At present, we operate about 35 such relationships, each of which is on a same-gender basis. Some are a few months old whilst others have been running for over 10 years.
Befriending is a means of reducing the isolation that so often accompanies the experience of mental illness. By building up and maintaining a close relationship, social skills and confidence can be rediscovered and nurtured.
- Each relationship is effectively a union of what the referred person needs and that which a befriender can offer.
- Many relationships become genuine, warm and close friendships. Talking together or visits to the local café every week or two can develop into shopping trips, regular walks in the local park or countryside, and other outings.