How does it help?

Young people recovering from mental illness said they built confidence, improved their quality of life and felt more ready to engage with society after taking part in our Back to Life mentoring project.

In an external evaluation by Órla Cronin Research, they describe how having a volunteer mentor made them feel less isolated and brought new hope for the future.

One said: “Before, I’d be in agony, I’d be in bed, and that is what my mentor helped me with. She got me out of the house, talking about it and it helped me get some ideas of what I wanted to do and put them in place.”

Another commented: “Meeting my mentor was the catalyst I needed to get me from basically a dead-end onto a path which potentially will get me to a point where I’m recovered, so … I would put a great emphasis on the mentoring for that.”

Órla said: “The overall views of the project from mentees, mentors and referrers were almost universally positive. In particular, all the mentees reported positive change on all of the project aims.”

TimeBank chief executive Helen Walker said: “Mentoring projects like Back to Life can transform young people’s lives. To see someone go from thinking: “I don’t have any value” to “I feel OK about myself” is truly inspiring. The report also highlights how many of the young people took part in volunteering as a practical first step to employment – and how vital this was in their re-engagement with society.”

You can read the full evaluation report here.