Our Story

Since its creation in 1984, the Friendship Volunteer Association Inc. has offered personalized psychosocial follow-up and support services in the living environment of people with a mental health problem. Intervention workers work daily to improve their social and material living conditions

How we started

In the early 80’s, the growing number of individuals with mental health problems inflated the clientele of the CLSC Metro. Concerned by this new clientele, a small group of professionals at the CLSC decided to develop a program for them. Thanks to a federal grant allowed for a twelve-month period, a service was implemented to pair up a client with a well-trained and supervised volunteer. The objectives of this unique service were to break through the feelings of loneliness felt by the client and to help in the development of new social skills. In November 1984, the Friendship Volunteer Association Inc. became incorporated and autonomous.

Our development

In 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 was structured and offered on demand, and 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 Ministry of Social Affairs, 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 people who have a psychiatric background. During that same period, two more services were added to complete the program. To begin, a committee of professionals working in the field of mental health, who were also responsible for a catering center for their clients, handed over the administration to our organization. Located in the heart of downtown Montreal, this center was open every day of the year and offered services during days and evenings, which 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 a hard time expressing their emotions and their needs verbally


In 1989, a fifth service was offered to help clients remain in the community. Three welfare-recipients participating in a job-program work as home-care workers helping clients to accomplish their everyday tasks. After the deposit of the mental health policy in 1990, the government recognized the Friendship Volunteer Association Inc.’s expertise in the defence of the rights for those who suffer from mental illness by according to the organization the official mandate for the central-west.