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Common Questions

What is befriending?

Befriending is a supported friendship between two people: a trained volunteer and a Friend / Carer- someone who has experienced mental ill health or memory issues, or is an unpaid Carer.   

Befriending provides safe, reliable, 1-1 social contact which stops loneliness and isolation and increases a person's confidence, social belonging and makes people feel more valued in thier communities.

We do not provide any form of home befriending. 


What types of befriending are available?

Face to Face Befriending

Friend and volunteer meet together regularly (usually weekly) to take part in an ordinary social activity that both enjoy

Distance Befriending

Friend and volunteer have regular contact by telephone, letter or e-mail.


What is the Refocus model for mental health?

If you have mental ill health, you may have heard of ‘recovery’.     Recovery is not a one-off event – it is a process that can take time.  We think of it as a personal recovery journey.  

People can recover from mental ill health.  Recovery means different things to different people; it is a very personal journey. Generally speaking it is about working towards individual life goals and having hope for the future.

Not everyone will stop having symptoms during their recovery. If you still have symptoms, you can try to stop them from affecting your life as much.

Medical treatment is one way towards recovery. It helps a lot of people, but it is not the only way to recover.

Recovery is something a person achieves for themselves.   It is not something that someone else does for them.   

Befrienders Highland and our volunteers will be able to help Friends achieve their recovery goals through our goal focused supported friendships. 


How much does it cost to have a Befriender?

The service is FREE.


Who can have a volunteer Befriender? 

Our supported 1-1 friendships are successful for adults who

  • Have mental ill health; or dementia or care for someone in an unpaid capacity

  • Live in in the Highlands or Argyll and Bute regions

  • Are lonely or isolated.

  • Lack opportunity or confidence for social contact.


How can I refer myself or someone else for a service?

  • Check out the information on Referring For a Service page

  • Call or email us (see our 'contact us' page) or;

  • Fill in the form on the 'contact us' page and we will be in touch.

Referrals can also be made through the Community Mental Health Teams or CPNs; Memory Clinics; Social Workers, Support Workers, GPs , Voluntary sector agencises, other professional workers or friends and family if preferred.


Is befriending safe? What about confidentiality?

Befriending with us is very safe for all parties concerned. We take confidentiality very seriously. Our volunteers are all trained, have references taken up and have an enhanced PVG (police check) done.

All friendships work within the agreed boundaries set down by Befrienders Highland and both Volunteers, Friends or Carers sign a simple Agreement so everyone knows where they stand and what is expected.

For those involved in a distance befriending relationship there are additional safeguards.  Emails are sent through a secure area of our website, with Friends and Volunteers having their own username and password, so no personal email addresses are exchanged.  All letters are sent to our office and forwarded on to the appropriate person (unopened) so no addresses are exchanged.


Is Befrienders Highland taken seriously by health and social service providers?

Yes, our service is viewed as highly valuable and effective by professional providers across the Highlands and Argyll and Bute.  Befrienders Highland has service level agreements with NHS Highland to provide our services. 

We have an Excellence Award for our Befriending services.