So, I’ve gotten a few questions about the National Psoriasis Foundation One to One Mentoring Program. It’s a fairly new program that allows those with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis to be matched up with mentor volunteers who have similar experiences. They try to match us with people of the same gender, similar age and geographic area, but that obviously doesn’t always work. People can also select if they have a gender preference; if so, I imagine that factor is given preference over geography and age.
To be a mentor, we had to go fill out a volunteer application form, submit references and go through an hour of training. We also had to submit a practice e-mail with a dummy patient, showing how we would respond when we got sent a mentee match. The training was really informative and helpful. There were a bunch of us new mentors on the call — and a few who had been doing it for awhile — as well as NPF workers and a psychologist. I definitely felt a lot better prepared after that call, especially since they sent us the slides they used and a handbook.
All the information we get on mentees is confidential; we can’t talk about them to other people at all. But everyone struggles with chronic illness: wanting more information, sometimes a shoulder to cry on, sometimes just to talk to someone who has been there and understands what he or she is going through. That’s what the One to One program is all about. The only negative thing that I have to say about the program is that I wish it would have come out sooner! It would have been super helpful to me more than a decade ago when I was first diagnosed with psoriasis, and even five years ago when the psoriatic arthritis hit. But it’s doing a world of good now, and I’m so glad that I can be a small part of it.