Over the last 2 years young people have been thrown into an unknown world of social isolation and future uncertainty. The already present sociocultural pressure to keep up with friends is made all the more complex when the primary view they have of their peers is through the picture-perfect lens of social media. Now more than ever, young people need to talk.
For some young people, it might seem intimidating to approach someone unfamiliar and to be open with them about what they’re going through emotionally. Perhaps they feel more comfortable speaking with friends about their experiences. Or they might not have experienced an open conversation of this type in the past.
One thing is for sure—we all need someone to talk to during tough times. No matter what state of mental health we had prior to the global pandemic, we have been through an incredibly stressful and chaotic chapter ever since. Despite restrictions now continuing to ease, ‘the new normal’ is yet to be established. So—how can our mentoring support your young person?
The purpose of mentoring is to provide safe space for young people to discuss the very real issues they currently face without judgement. The role of the mentor is not to direct but rather to facilitate positive change by allowing the mentee to see potential routes forwards along with building the confidence to pursue these options for themselves.
Overcoming mental health issues and emotional challenges is not a predictably linear upward curve. There will be good days and there will be days that feel impossible. Regular sessions of mentoring can help a young person to deal with their thoughts along with benefitting from consistent conversation opportunities.
Some parents may feel frustrated that their teenager won’t speak to them directly. It can feel deflating to realise they would prefer to open up to someone who isn’t their lead carer. It’s important to realise that they may feel more comfortable speaking to a neutral party. Encouraging them to speak to a mentor is a powerful step in accessing the help they need to progress.
Mentoring is a valuable ongoing opportunity for young people to access the freedom of speech and supportive guidance they need to overcome the stresses of their current reality, along with developing their resilience in preparation for their future. It can make a significant difference to their personal emotional journey—both now in their day to day life and far beyond it!
Do you have a young person in your life who would benefit from speaking to a mentor? We are here to help that happen. My Future Self Matters offers support for those needing support at this time and in the future. Reach out today to find out the best options for you or your child.
Carl Morton – Founder of My Future Self Matters
The Care Leaders Fellowship