National Mentoring Resource Center: Mentoring for youth with mental health challenges

Written by Michael Garringer

The National Mentoring Resource Center is happy to announce the release of another entry in our series of evidence reviews on mentoring specific populations of youth. We recently posted Mentoring for Youth with Mental Health Challenges, authored by Dr. Michelle Munson and her colleague James Railey at New York University. Dr. Munson is one of the leading experts on the application of mentoring relationships for youth who are struggling with or actively addressing mental health challenges and this review offers a nice summary of what we have learned as a field about the impact and nuances of using mentors in service of these needs.

As with all of these NMRC evidence reviews, this one focuses on the core questions of whether mentoring is effective in supporting these youth, the factors that moderate or facilitate outcomes, and whether this type of mentoring has been widely adopted in our field and the possibilities for taking such work “to scale.” The review addresses both programmatic mentoring and mentoring that happens through more naturally-formed relationships.

The review generally concludes that there is evidence that mentors and mentoring programs can be beneficial to youth with mental health needs and offers many examples of programs and studies that have demonstrated this. But the review is also full of rich, detailed information about the outcomes that seem to align best with mentoring and the many nuances of service delivery that influence how effective mentoring can be around mental health needs. An additional section after the formal review also offers tips for practitioners on how their programs might effectively support youth with mental health needs.

I encourage every practitioner or policymaker who is interested in the intersection of mentoring and improved mental health to read the review and share your thoughts here on the Chronicle about this important, often life-altering work.

You can also find the full collection of evidence reviews on specific populations or program models to date on the NMRC site here: