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From Visitation to Counseling : Many Organizations Need Volunteers

April 24, 1985|PENELOPE MOFFET

Volunteer opportunities in the mental health field exist in many other hospitals and service organizations in the county:

- Alliance for the Mentally Ill, 544-8488. Membership of this group consists mainly of friends and relatives of mentally ill people who have banded together to offer emotional and educational support to each other and to work for legislative change. Volunteer office workers and individuals to assist at parties for psychiatric patients at several Orange and Los Angeles County facilities are needed.

- Mental Health Assn., 547-7559. A number of public education programs for all ages are administered; support groups for manic depressive and schizophrenic outpatients meet all around the county through the association's Project Return; a visitation program for elderly people uses individual volunteers; patients' rights advocates act in the interests of psychiatric patients who are being held involuntarily.

- Hoag Memorial Hospital, 645-8600, Extension 2264. Volunteers are used throughout the hospital, including the psychiatric program. Within the psychiatric unit, volunteers mostly work with patients in group activities such as baking and game-playing, although occasional one-to-one encounters occur.

- St. Joseph Hospital, 771-8243. No in-hospital volunteers are used, but outpatient services use volunteers in Project Pace, a home visitation program for the elderly. And volunteers are needed for a hospice program that trains them to help dying individuals and their families deal with their emotions. A 10-week, 30-hour training program is required.

- La Habra Community Hospital, (714) 870-5090 or (213) 694-3838, Extension 476. Activity aides to assist therapists in individual and group settings are needed in this 11-month-old volunteer program. Volunteers who gain a little seniority can also be peer counselors, spending time talking with (but not acting as therapists for) individual patients. People are also needed to teach craft and journal workshops.

- UCI Medical Center, 634-5541. Volunteers are needed to aid psychiatric technicians and occupational therapists with children and adolescent patients at the hospital and on excursions away from the facility.

- County Services, 834-5585. Information about a variety of volunteer opportunities with county mental health services can be obtained at this number.

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