In the early 80’s – The growing number of individuals with mental health problems inflated the clientele of the CLSC Metro. Concerned by these new clientele, a small group of professionals at the CLSC decided to develop a program for them.
1984 – Thanks to a federal grant allowed for a twelve month period, a service was implemanted to pair up a client with a well-trained and supervised volunteer. The objectives of this unique service in Quebec at that time were to break through the feelings of loneliness felt by the client and to help to progressively develop new social skills. In November 1984, the Friendship Volunteer Association Inc. became incorporated and autonomous.
1985 – Three more services were added to the first one. Through, the needs expressed by the clients, a support and follow-up service in the community to be used on demand was structured and offered on a regular basis to create a better quality of services. With these personalized interventions, the case worker backs the client in his/her steps towards the amelioration of the quality of life, an increased autonomy and his/her maintenance in the community. It was through a grant allowed to the organization by the Ministery of Social Affairs and a subvention of the Conseil Régional de la Santé et des Services Sociaux (CRSSS) given to the CLSC Métro and the DSC of the Montreal General Hospital for a research project that allowed the Friendship Volunteer Association Inc. to continue its activities of intervention for another eighteen months. The goal of this research was to evaluate the impact of the volunteer services on those people who have psychiatric background. During that same period of time, two more services were added to complete the program. To start, a committee of professionals working in the field of mental health and also responsible for a center catering to their clients handed over the administration to our organization. Located in the heart of downtown Montreal, the center, opened both, days and evenings, everyday of the year, benefited more than 75% of the members. In autumn of 1985, an art-therapy service was established to better respond to the clients who have difficulty to express verbally their emotions and their needs.
1986 – Thanks to a recommandation made by the implantation committee of the alternative and community resources in mental health of the central-west sub-region that was brought to the attention of the Conseil Régional de la Santé et des Services Sociaux (CRSSS), the Friendship Volunteer Association Inc. was assured of recurring financing for part of its activities.
1989 – Concerned with optimizing the resources for the clientele, a service to help clients remain in the community became the fifth service offered. Three welfare-recipients participating in a job-program work as home-care workers helping clients to accomplish their everyday tasks.
1990 – After the deposit of the mental health policy, the government recognized the Friendship Volunteer Association Inc.’s expertise in the defense of the the rights for those who suffer from mental illness by according to the organization the official mandate for the central-west.