Virtual Buddies help those with mental health illness stay connected

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER,N.Y. (WROC) — Compeer of Rochester has two electronic buddy programs that connects individuals with mental illness to a mentors in the community, good for both mental health and making sure these vulnerable people don’t face quarantine alone.

Now more then ever, Compeer’s virtual buddy programs are needed, more and more of the community is sitting in their homes.

Compeer Rochester president Sara Passamonte says the uncertainty we are facing is felt by her clients with mental health challenges everyday.

“Now we’re all experiencing a level of this isolation and I think more people will be able to relate,” said Sara Passamonte, president Compeer Rochester.

The programs connects those living with mental health challenges to mentors in the community.
Participants range from 5 year old children to adults, serving people living with everything from depression to mood disorders.

While Compeer Rochester has buddy programs year around, with larger gatherings shut down, having a virtual buddy now is beneficial for both mental and physical health.

“Isolation loneliness, leading to more disease actually physical disease and health issues as a result of that. People with mental health issues sometimes having a shorter life span sometimes 25 years compared to somebody who doesn’t,” said Passamonte.

And children can find this especially helpful as they lose face to face interaction with friends at school.

“My mother is a volunteer in the program and she has a 9 year old mentee who facetimes her everyday,” said Passamonte. “Just give them somebody besides a person in their household who they may be getting really sick of right now.”

The program is open to mentors at this time. Participants will be trained by and Compeer Rochester is looking for anyone willing to be a friend.

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