All Saints Gather Lutheran Church

'People of Christ, Living in Community & Working in Partnership'

Companioning the mentally ill

What does it mean to be a companion to a mentally ill person? Can I, an ordinary citizen, do it?

Being a companion is as simple as being a friend, a friend that has learned a few insights and boundaries, and who has a large capacity for compassion. There is no medical advice, or monetary help but there is a lot of listening and care given. Any person can be a companion, share a cup of coffee or tea in a public space and simply “be there” for another human being who is in need. Mental health professionals like psychiatrists and nurses and peer counselors and the like are very important, but there are not enough to do all the caring that is needed. We need more “everyday” people to pick up the slack, devote some time and reach out to make a difference in a fellow human beings life.