Mental Health Recovery

What is Mental Health Recovery?

Recovery means different things to different people, but it is understood that recovery is a journey, not a destination.

It is important to recognise that ‘recovery’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘cure’. Instead, the concept of mental health recovery focuses more on empowering individuals to regain control over their lives and emotions, and provides them with the tools to manage their mental health challenges in healthy ways.

Find out more about recovery from:

Mind  Rethink Mental Illness  Mental health Foundation  NAMI  Very Well Mind  SAMH


Befrienders Highland Mental Health Recovery Programme

Our mental health service offers a 12-month, goal-based recovery programme (REFOCUS). As part of that programme, our Befrienders (trained volunteers) help support our Friends (service users) to build confidence and to take greater control of their lives by working towards the life goals they have set themselves and by engaging in social connection.

Our programme aims to help our Friends to have hope for the future and enables our coordinators and volunteers to work alongside them to grow and live as well as possible, with or without symptoms.

Our mental health service is open to people aged 18+ who live in the Highland region, who are receiving professional support for mental ill health, who feel lonely or isolated, and who are ready, willing and able to engage in a mental health recovery programme.


Befrienders Highland offers Face-to-Face and Distance Befriending for as part of our Mental Health Recovery Programme.


We can accept applications from individuals who are:

  • aged 18 or over.
  • living within the Highland region.
  • ready to improve their situation by engaging in the recovery process.

  • willing and able to commit to a goal-based recovery befriending programme.*

  • receiving professional support for mental ill health.**

  • in a period of relatively stable mental health at the time of referral.***

  • lonely or isolated, and have limited opportunity or confidence for social contact.

* Our mental health service requires personal goals to be set by the individual. They will work towards these goals throughout the duration of the programme, with support and encouragement from the Befrienders Highland team. They must be able to fully engage in goal creation and commit to regular contact with their befriender and coordinator.

** Individuals must be receiving professional support for mental ill health from a Doctor, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN), or Mental Health Social Worker (or similar).

*** Befrienders Highland is not a crisis support service, we can offer mental health recovery assistance to individuals who meet the criteria, and are in a period of relative stability at the time of referral.

Types of befriending in our programme

As part of our Mental Health Recovery Programme people can choose either Face-to-Face Befriending (Inverness, Nairn, Alness, Invergordon, Dingwall, Drumnadrochit, Caithness, and Skye & Lochalsh) or Distance Befriending (Telephone, Letter, Email, Video Call, or through Gaming), whichever best suits their needs and circumstances.

For Face-to-Face Befriending Friends must be able to independently meet their Befriender in a mutually agreed public place for social activities; our mental health volunteers are not able to visit people in their own homes, or in care homes.

Recovery Through Empowerment

We encourage individuals to start taking control by asking them to apply to this programme rather than being referred to it. Completing the application form is the first step of the programme, demonstrating a commitment towards the recovery process.

How to apply?

If you would like to apply to join our Mental Health Service - Recovery Through Supported Befriending Programme, please download and complete the application form below, returning it to us via email or post, or contact us and we can send you out a paper copy to complete.

Please note: application forms must be completed fully (including goal section), signed (hand written signature), and dated, for them to be considered. If you need assistance completing the form, please speak with your health professional, support organisation, or contact us to discuss your situation.

Application Form - Mental Health Recovery Through Supported Befriending

If you have any questions -

  • Go to our Contact Us page and complete the online form.  
  • Email
  • Telephone us on 01463 712 791

Unfortunately, most of our services have reached full capacity, which means we are unable to accept any applications or referrals for anywhere other than Caithness or Sutherland. For all other areas, please check back here again in September. 


Befrienders Highland Limited is a Scottish recognised charity (SCO29386) and is a company limited by guarantee, registered in Scotland (199867).

Its registered office is its postal address: Befrienders Highland Limited, 1st Floor, Academy House, 42 Academy Street, Inverness, IV1 1JT