Brother from another mother: Mentoring for African-Caribbean adolescent boys

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Journal: Journal of Adolescence

African-Caribbean adolescent boys in the UK have a risk of developing mental health difficulties but are a challenging group to engage in mental health services. One avenue for promoting the psychological well-being of these adolescents is through mentoring programmes. This qualitative study explored the role of mentoring with African-Caribbean adolescent boys who had psychological and behavioural difficulties. Thirteen mentees and five mentors participated in a combination of focus groups and interviews; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis was used to analyse their accounts and generated nine themes. The accounts highlighted the uniqueness of the mentoring relationship.Strong,emotional bonds were formed between boys and mentors, facilitated by the perception of shared life experiences; boys were able to show their vulnerabilities and accept support. The findings suggest that mentoring can assist at-risk African-Caribbean youth in coping with challenges in their lives and may help to promote positive developmental trajectories for these vulnerable adolescents.

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