Rewriting stories of trauma through peer-to-peer mentoring for and by at-risk young people

Lesley J. Douglas, Debra Jackson, Cindy Woods, Kim Usher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Adverse childhood experiences are strongly associated with the development of mental health disorders during the life span. When mental health issues are not effectively dealt with during the adolescent period, young people can become long-term consumers in the mental health system. A widely accepted method of intervention is the provision of mentoring. More recently, young people have been fulfilling the role of mentor to their peers and mentoring has played a large role in supporting young people who are considered at-risk of not achieving the expected psychosocial, educational, and/or developmental goals. What is not known is why young people, previously identified as being at-risk, are motivated to mentor their at-risk peers. The study aim was to examine what motivates previously recognized at-risk young people to provide mentoring to their at-risk peers. Participants were twelve previously recognized at-risk young people recruited through a formal peer-to-peer mentoring programme. Semi-structured interviews were conducted, and the data analysed through narrative inquiry and reported in accordance with the consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research guidelines (COREQ). Results indicate that young people are motivated by their own lived experiences of trauma(s) to provide at-risk peer mentoring. The experience of mentoring afforded opportunities to rewrite individual personal journeys of trauma through mentoring their at-risk peers, thus constructing a more positive self-identity. Outcomes of developing positive peer relationships and prosocial behaviours could significantly assist mental health clinicians in providing more acceptable care to clients in an age group known to be reluctant to accept traditional mental health intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)744-756
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Nursing
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


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