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When should you choose mentorship?
Life for a teen can be a rollercoaster - filled with uncertainties, challenges, and new experiences. Each of these moments are opportunities for personal growth if your teen has the right support system. Unfortunately, finding the type of support that resonates most with your teen can be difficult. While resources can come in various forms (i.e. therapy, counseling, psychiatry), we’ve heard from many parents how frustrated they are when their teen does not engage with therapists, groups, or other support systems.
We know that there’s a lot of options out there for your teen. We also know that mental wellness mentorship might not be something that you’ve heard about before. This post aims to outline when mentorship is a fit for your teen and when you should opt for another support system.
When should you not use mentorship for your teen?
Let’s start by outlining when mentorship is not a good fit for your teen. Mentors are highly trained to support your teen with the stressors of everyday adolescence, as well as with the more serious things that might come up. With that being said, mentors are not licensed mental health professionals and do not provide professional mental or physical health services. If your teen is struggling severely with their mental health or has been suicidal/self-harmed in the last month, a better option would be a licensed mental health professional such as a Psychologist or a Psychiatrist.
We will talk more below about how mentors can enhance the support of a licensed mental health professional if your teen is already working with one.
When should you use a mentor?
Now, let's discuss when a mentor can be a highly effective support system for your teen. We will outline two major areas below.
Your teen needs support but isn’t ready or doesn’t need a mental health professional
Teens often find it challenging to open up to parents, older adults, friends, or professionals. A mentor who’s overcome what your teen is going through can be the presence that teens need to open up and get support for whatever they are struggling with.
The power of a mentor is that they have overcome the exact thing that your teen is going through and serve as living proof that these challenges can be overcome. Witnessing their mentor's success can inspire your teen to believe in their own potential and inspire them to make actionable change. This positive influence can help boost your teen's confidence and self-esteem.
Because mentors are closer in age with your teen, they can relate to your teen and speak their language. They can better empathize with the struggles faced by your teen such as social anxiety, low self-esteem, identity issues, and social media influences. This shared connection fosters a deep level of trust and communication, creating an environment where your teen feels heard and understood.
If your teen is resistant to seeing a mental health professional or is looking for support on things that might not need a professional, mentors can be a great way to find support and start making progress.
Your teen is not progressing with clinical care
Sometimes, despite the best efforts of clinical care, a teenager may not respond as expected. They may be resistant to the treatment protocol, have difficulty adhering, or have difficulty relating to their provider. In such cases, mentorship can play a vital role in complementing and enhancing aspects of clinical treatment.
The combination of clinical therapy and mentorship can offer a more holistic approach to the teen's well-being. Many teens who work with professionals say they don’t feel a strong sense of camaraderie or relationship with their professional supporters and that it prevents them from making progress. The nature of timed sessions leaves teens unable to reach out for support in between sessions which, as we all know, is where lots of life happens. In addition, many professionals work on a cost per hour basis, leaving teens to feel the transactional nature of the relationship.
Mentorship can fill the gap between sessions by providing a safe and trusted outlet for teens to go to throughout the week in a flexible way. Our program at Somethings was created to give teens unlimited access and complete flexibility to their mentor whenever they want throughout the month so that they never have to wait on support.
If your teen has been working with a mental health professional but hasn’t made progress or isn’t enjoying the experience, mentorship may be the missing piece.
You don’t have to make this decision alone
Our #1 goal is to ensure that your teen has the right support, and we know that it might not be mentorship. If you are ever confused or in need of assistance navigating the incredibly complex mental health and wellness landscape, please meet with our team and we would be more than happy to support you - even if mentorship isn't the right fit for your teen. You can find a time to meet with Gabe, our Head of Mentorship, who’d be more than excited to support you on your journey.