With National Mental Health Day occuring earlier this week, we wanted to take a moment and highlight some of the proven mental health benefits of being connected with a carefully selected adult mentor can lead to improved mental health in young people.
The last few years especially have highlighted the importance of mental health awareness, especially in children and teens. The CDC states that almost 50% of young people have experienced feelings of persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness in the last 12 months, and just under 40% have experienced poor mental health during the Covid pandemic years.
Having a strong network of people in their lives who support them unconditionally goes a long way in helping youth manage the stressors of daily life and the mental health challenges they may bring. In a study conducted by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, a significant percentage of former Littles reported that their experiences with their Bigs left them feeling better about themselves, helped them go on to lead fulfilling adult lives, and aided them in establishing healthy and satisfying relationships.
A Deeper Look
Measuring mental health doesn’t just involve the presence or lack of sadness, anxiety, or fear. It also includes looking at how comfortable a person feels with themselves, others, and moving around in the world around them. According to this Guider article, having a reliable adult mentor (Big) in their lives benefits the mental health and well being of kids in a multitude of ways, including:
A Youth.gov study found that having a Big reduces the risk of a child getting involved in illegal drug and alcohol use and drastically decreases the chance of them acting out violently and destructively. Having a mentor has also been shown to increase social and emotional skills development in kids, improve their relationships with their parents, and encourage them to pursue higher education goals, all of which definitely contribute to a young person’s mental health.
Benefits for mentors
The young person involved in a stable mentoring relationship is not the only one to benefit. The mentor can also experience significant improvement in their well being, including an increased sense of self esteem, accomplishment, and patience, as well as deeper insight into and understanding of their own experiences as a young person.
Helping to improve their mental health and well being is just one of the many valuable reasons to become a mentor to a child. There are also so many wonderful young people waiting for their very own Big mentor, through both our community and our school based match programs.
Interested in helping to improve the life of one of them? Give us a call at 734-975-0933 or sign up for a volunteer info session today!