People are referred to Compeer only through mental health provider agencies or private therapists, and are mostly in the public system of care. Compeer same gender friendships are an adjunct to therapy and other community support services.

A Compeer volunteer is a man or woman who shares friendship with someone socially isolated by mental illness and economically disadvantaged. He or she is a sensitive person who understands and accepts someone who may feel misunderstood or rejected.

In the Compeer program, both the volunteer and friend become 'compeers' or co-equal partners in this relationship.  They spend at least four hours a month together, seeking to have weekly contact wherever possible.