The authors conducted a controlled research investigation into the effectiveness of a volunteer program at three Veterans Administration hospitals. In the program, called Project Anchor, volunteers helped mental patients being released from the hospital become reintegrated into their home communities. A total of 78 volunteers and 89 patients participated in the program; another 82 patients served as a control group. The researchers compared the two patient groups using data obtained through questionnaires, interviews, and hospital records. Analysis of the data indicated that the program had little therapeutic effect for the patients involved. The authors believe that the results are a forceful argument against an uncritical investment of treatment funds and personnel In outpatient volunteer programs, and that they raise serious questions about the proper role of the volunteer.