Inevitably, given our name, Mentor gets thought of as an organisation that provides mentoring, and on occasion we have supported that approach to sustaining health and wellbeing, but much less often than an outsider might think.
Nevertheless, mentoring has been an approach that has been seen to have potential benefits in preventing substance misuse, so I was pleased to see a recent Child Trends publication about what works for mentoring programmes.
They have three key messages:
- Generally, mentoring programs that focused on helping children and youth with their education, social skills and relationships were more frequently effective than those focused on behaviour problems such as bullying or programs aimed at reducing teen pregnancy;
- Mentoring programs targeting at-risk youth, community-based programs, and programs lasting one year or more were more frequently found to be effective; and
- Overall, 13 of the 19 programs had positive impacts on at least one outcome. Three programs were not found to be effective on the outcomes measured based on data reviewed.
As with so many of Child Trend’s papers it is a very pity summary of the evidence for programmes and a very useful guide for those thinking about if and how to develop mentoring programmes.