It's a walk in the park.

The Compeer Organization

Compeer is a respected, established nonprofit organization with over 40 years of experience in delivering positive client outcomes at lower costs for individuals with a spectrum of mental disorders. Founded in New York State in 1973, today Compeer oversees an international network of affiliates in the U.S., Canada and Australia, providing training, consultation, best practices management, marketing/communications, recruitment strategies and administrative support. Compeer affiliates maintain autonomy over their individual operations, programs, resources and funding.

Compeer’s community-based locations serve on average thousands of individuals with mental illness or emotional challenges including youth, veterans and older adults, plus their families, annually. Screened, trained, monitored, and caring volunteers are matched by Compeer professional staff with referred clients in one-to-one supportive friendship/mentoring relationships based on gender, age, interests. Compeer, an adjunct to therapy, is an effective intervention for people who want to live in the community to achieve a high quality of life. Matches meet weekly for one year in safe environments using natural supports, sharing decision-making around activities, place, and time.

The Friendship Program

Friendship is about being there for someone. But for people with mental illness, too often there is no one to turn to when they need a friend. That’s where Compeer steps in.

Making Friends, Changing Lives

Based on the time-honored tradition that the support of friends is healing, Compeer affiliates “make friends and change lives.” Compeer has often been called “The Friendship Program” by community members familiar with the Compeer Program. And aptly so.

Friendship is about being there for someone. But for people with mental illness, too often there is no one to turn to when they need a friend. That’s where Compeer steps in.

A pioneer in mental-health advocacy, Compeer affiliates’ volunteer-based programs and services – which serve as a complement to therapy – empower people to become more socially integrated and to combat the effects of mental illness, from loneliness to isolation and low self-worth. Compeer volunteers and matched friends often say that the friendship has changed two lives: the volunteer’s and their friend’s.

The generosity of our volunteers and donors have helped Compeer make friends and change lives for more than 40 years.

The Compeer Model

The award-winning Compeer Model was developed using the three elements of support – relatedness, autonomy, competence. Research led by Richard M. Ryan, a professor in the Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology at the University of Rochester shows that where these elements are present in relationships, people feel more secure, emotionally open, and enjoy greater well-being and mental health.

Named a “best-practices model for recovery” by the American Psychological Association twice since 2005, the Compeer Model is creative, flexible and adaptable to demographic populations, such as youth, older adults, and veterans. In late 2010, CompeerCORPS, a veteran-to-veteran peer support program, began serving United States military veterans in New York State, and in 2014 the program expanded into Pennsylvania.

The Compeer Model is included in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices.