Befriending against loneliness and loneliness

Origin of the project Befriend

In 1999, Harris and colleagues published “Befriending as an intervention for chronic depression among women in an inner city” in the British Journal of Psychiatry. The translation would be “befriending as an intervention to improve chronic depression in women in an urban center.”

Here, women volunteers were sought as friends of 40 depressed women to talk to them for at least 1 hr/week for a year, to be there, to be a friend, to initiate activities.

The lay helpers received three days of training. The emphasis was on overcoming psychosocial stress through the positive new encounter in terms of a fresh start. Befriending improved depression when positive life events also played a significant role.

Over the past 20 years, articles have continued to appear on the “befriending” model, for various psychiatric and non-psychiatric disorders and diseases. They mainly study the motives of volunteers such as Personal enrichment in experience (Cassidy et alii 2019), also switching back and forth between a kind of professional caregiver and real friend.

Antidepressant therapies improve depression, drive, joy, but often cannot reverse the effects that have occurred. Above all, the loss of contacts during the long silent period of withdrawal then makes further recovery more difficult.

Deterioration of the condition must lead to contact with professional helpers, in which case the specialists of Horizonte are always available.

The Horizonte association therefore took up the idea of befriending in order to support patients with few social contacts. However, as a prerequisite for participation in Project Befriending, those affected must have a good supportive therapy, because otherwise depression and not shared joy becomes the subject of the relationship.

Currently, we manage about 35 friendships of volunteers and affected people

The friendship we mediate should be a meeting of two people with mutual interest and open outcome. You have fun walking, cycling, in concert, restaurant. You do the things you just enjoy with friends.

Our Befriending model is also intended to contribute to de-tabooing / anti-stigma of mental disorders.

Find out more about the projects and read about depression on our site.

Be inspired to become a friend.

“1000 friends on the net, still lonely” Therapies cure the cause, we mend the consequences

Friend now

Befriending thus mediates friendships between volunteers and people who have little social contact because of mental health problems.