Referring Your Client

friends at a cookout

Dear Mental Health Professional, 


Thank you for your interest in referring your client to Compeer of Greater Buffalo. Our organization serves as an extra layer of support for individuals receiving mental health service. We currently offer 1-to-1, group, school based, and community-based programs.


We believe that our volunteers, through the healing power of friendship, contribute to the mental well-being of those we serve. 

Please review the Client Eligibility Requirements, Client Referral/Intake Process and Partner Responsibilities before proceeding with your full application.

Eligibility Requirements


  • · is age 6 or older
  • · has a primary diagnosis of an identified mental health disorder, and if they also have a developmental disorder it is not the primary diagnosis
  • · is receiving mental health counseling/treatment at the time of referral
  • · is interested in receiving services from Compeer
  • · is in the recovery phase of their illness and:
  •     –   is not verbally or physically aggressive
  •     –   does not have thoughts to harm self or others
  •     –   is not acutely suicidal

Phase 1- Referral Received

Phase 2 – Registering

Within 2 weeks- Client and referring  professional are notified that client is eligible. As applicable, additional required paperwork is sent to client to complete and return to Compeer

Within 2 weeks- Notification that client is ineligible and file is closed

Phase 3- Compeer Member!

Client and referring professional  are notified that client’s file is approved and they can utilize our services

Follow-up documents not received or additional information causes client to become ineligible- client file closed

Match Process

When a client is accepted and is interested in a 1-to-1 friendship, matches are made based on several factors such as age, culture, personality traits, interests, level of client need, level of experience of the volunteer, and geographical location. The information you provide in the application will help us make the best possible match, so being as thorough as possible is helpful.


Based on compatibility matching, it is difficult to predict how long it will take to find an appropriate volunteer for your client. Once a client is accepted into the program, they are eligible to attend our free social activities while waiting to be matched and can continue participating in these activities during and after their match has ended.


Volunteers and clients in our 1-to-1 friendship program are committing to a 1-year friendship. While it may last longer at both the client and volunteer’s agreement, this is not an expectation.


Compeer staff help support the ending of a match, and the client then graduates from our 1-to-1 program! They are welcome and encouraged to participate in Compeer’s social activities as long as all Compeer partners believe it is continuing to support their mental well-being!

Compeer Partner Responsibilities


• Recruits, interviews, screens and trains volunteers before they are matched and gives ongoing support and training during the match


• Monitors the volunteer and client relationship via phone/email and monthly update forms and will advise mental health professional of any concerns that may arise. 


• Gets to know the client via communication at time of referral, Compeer events, and checking in by phone. 

Referring Mental Health Professional

• Available to answer questions that Compeer may have to help determine the most successful match for the client and volunteer.


• Available to discuss issues of concern throughout the duration of the match.


• Notifies Compeer of any changes in client’s mental health, mental health provider, or contact information.


• Notifies Compeer if they end services with the client, whether matched or waiting.


• Provides a secondary mental health professional contact if they will not be the primary point of contact for Compeer.


• Completes the annual Compeer survey. 

Client (and Parent/Guardian if applicable)

• Supports the referral.


• Commits to participating in visits with their friend.


• Commits to working in partnership with Compeer and sharing their voice about how things are going.


• Commits to completing annual Compeer survey.


• Agrees to completing all necessary intake paperwork.



• In person mentors spend approximately 4 hours per month with their friend, which includes a combination of in-person, phone and virtual contact.


• Phone buddies make one phone call per week to their friend, over the course of 1 year or until matched in an in person friendship.


• School-based mentors spend approximately 1 hour per week with their student at school (in person or virtually).


• Group Activity volunteers interact with clients on a fluid basis as often as clients attend Compeer’s social activities.


• Volunteers complete an interview, background checks, and training prior to being approved in the program.


• Volunteers are responsible for submitting a monthly update of time spent interacting with their friend. They also complete the annual Compeer survey.