Last Updated: January 2021
No one can fully understand the struggles of an adolescent mental illness unless they have been there themselves. For those young adults who have journeyed through a mental illness and come through the other side, they have invaluable advice and inspiration to share with those beginning or in the middle of their journey.
They know what it is like to go through mental health and/or substance use issues and they know what it is like to find healing in treatment. Now, after stepping back into their life, they can see the difference treatment has made and help others who are on their own mental health journey, by becoming a mental health mentor.
In honor of National Mentoring Month, learn more about mental health mentoring and how you can make a difference in the life of an adolescent or young adult.
The Power of Peer Mentorship
There is immense power in being a peer. Teens and young adults with mental health struggles are often surrounded by well-meaning adults. These adults are well-trained in helping teens overcome anxiety, depression and a myriad of other issues. However, you have something they do not. You are a peer.
You have a unique power in being able to relate to a teen going through their own mental health issues. As a peer, you won’t need to work so hard to earn their trust. You have knowledge of the culture and a vocabulary that they understand and can relate to. They will look up to you simply because you are one of them.
Everyone wins when you, as a peer, are willing to step up and share your mental health experiences. You have so much power just from being in the middle of it. You are raw, you are real, and other people will change their lives because of your story.
Mentoring: Sharing Your Mental Health Story
In addition to being more relatable, you also have the power of experience. When you are able to step into your story and speak out about your mental health, you give power to your story. You have the experience, and it is that experience that is now real and relatable to your peers.
As you tell others about your experiences, they will be able to see their own future of healing in you.
Additionally, sharing allows for added growth as you relate to one another’s journeys and inspire one another with your successes, big and small.
True mentoring allows you to live by example, as well as having the humility to be taught by someone else, too.
How Mental Health Mentorship Empowers Teens
You do not need to be a formal mentor to share the power of your life with other people. Maybe there is a mental health club in your community or at school or maybe you can mentor a friend or a sibling.
Mentoring is often as simple as sharing your mental health and wellness with others around you. As a peer, you have powers and the ability to relate that no grownups have. You have power in that you are walking the path and showing the way. Not as a superior, but as a peer.
Find your inner mentor today. The difference that you make in others’ lives can also help you.
Discover the power of mentoring. What you do to help others may help you even more. Contact Embark Behavioral Health for support today.