Children’s Mental Health Can Be Protected



As the 3rd wave sweeps across Canada, many young people are again sent home from school and isolated from teachers, friends and family. Researchers and doctors are voicing their concerns that these changes in routine and social access will have long-term negative impacts on children’s mental and physical health. Despite shutdowns and health regulations, Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors have pivoted and continued to connect with mentees from across Canada. Moving ‘outings’ to online platforms, such as FaceTime or Zoom, mentors are consistently connecting with mentees, helping them to navigate the isolation and the changes in their routines.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada has just completed a National youth research project lead by Megan Ames, Ph.D., R.Psych. from University of Victoria and Stephanie Craig, PhD, C.Psych, from York University along with collaborator Dr Debra Pepler of York University. The findings confirm that because of our mentoring programs, mentees are faring better than non-mentored youth during this pandemic:


of youth said their Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor helped them feel less isolated.


of youth who had regular contact with their mentor said it helped them feel less worried or anxious.


of youth engaged with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada reported feelings of depression, versus 51% among other youth.


of youth surveyed reported that they often feel anxious while only 28% of BBBS youth reported feelings of anxiety

The evidence is clear that positive relationships can buffer the negative impacts on children’s mental health and well-being. Our mentors provide consistent and personalized support to over 40,000 young people. Research has proven that mentoring can be a protective layer against the harmful effects of this pandemic on developing minds and Big Brothers Big Sisters needs to reach more young people at risk of harm.

We urge all Canadians to donate or volunteer for their local Big Brothers Big Sister organization. We have locations in every province and access to rural, remote and Indigenous communities; please find your local agency . Please help us protect and improve the mental health and well-being of young Canadians during this extremely difficult time in our history.