Mentoring has longtime been an accepted practice of encouraging young people to set positive goals, improve their attitude, and help them meet challenges of everyday life. For youth in foster care, these trusting relationships are vital in helping youth cope with their current situation and past loss. Over the years, study after study has confirmed what common sense tells us, that mentoring in successful in promoting school success and discouraging unsafe activities.
Just last year, a study on mentoring was concluded that found mentoring also has a positive effect on mental health outcomes. The study’s participants reported greater satisfaction in life and lower symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. This is significant in that youth in foster care are far more likely to suffer from PTSD in addition to ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, and many other mental illnesses.
“These findings suggest that even for the most vulnerable children, rigorous intervention efforts can make a difference and may lead to better outcomes and healthier futures,” said Heather Taussig, PhD, the study’s researcher.
Each Congress, several pieces of legislation related to mentoring are introduced. While it is important to express our support for legislation that encourages this successful and effective activity, what’s more important is making the decision to become a mentor. There are youth in your own community who could benefit from you taking an interest in their life. To be inspired, see the powerful advertisements from the Casey Family Program’s campaign to promote mentoring. To find out how to become a mentor, visit Mentor.org.