Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley’s Mentoring for Mental Health Program a Success
Thanks to the generosity of our Smart and Caring Community Fund donors, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Fraser Valley (BBBSFV) received a grant last year for their Mentoring for Mental Health project.
BBBSFV recognizes that youth experiencing mental illness and mental health challenges need more than just intensive and triage services. They report that 50% of the children and youth they work with have experienced or are currently experiencing mental illness or mental health challenges. The impact of COVID-19 has been significant on these young people. BBBSFV is continuously looking for ways to better support young people and increase their mentors’ knowledge. Through mentoring, they see that an intentional and supportive friendship develops, and young people can rely on their mentors for guidance and someone who will listen. With this realization, they started the Mentoring for Mental Health program. The goal of the program is to:
- reduce stigma surrounding mental illness,
- increase confidence and connectedness for youth
- increase skills and knowledge for mentors
The program is a volunteer-based program where mentors are recruited specifically for their education or experience related to mental illness and mental health. They volunteer 2-4 hours every week, providing support for youth. As BBBSFV continues to run this focused mentoring program, they continue to learn how best to support young people. For example, they also provided a virtual session for parents on the topic of anxiety that was facilitated by a clinical counsellor. BBBSFV reports that their program was a success! They were pleased to have open conversations with children, youth, families and mentors about mental illness and mental health resulting in improved mental health for youth they work with.
To learn more about Big Brothers Big Sisters Fraser Valley, click here.
To learn more about our Smart and Caring Community Grants program, click here.