While public health officials continue to urge Canadians to practice physical distancing, staying connected to committed mentors is imperative to mental health and wellness, especially for kids.
More than 50% of youth served in Big Brothers Big Sisters programs face four or more adversities in their daily lives, which can include emotional/physical abuse or neglect, exposure to additions or mental illness of a family member, making them particularly vulnerable to long-term mental and physical health problems. The stress that our young people experience will only be deepened during imposed physical distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statistics are already in. Since the COVID-19 breakout, Kids Help Line is reporting a 350% increase in calls from kids experiencing anxiety and mental health concerns. This statistic clearly illustrates the impact that Covid-19 is having on young people now, and will continue to have in the future as kids try to navigate a post-pandemic world.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie is uniquely positioned to ensure mentors continue to connect with young people who need it the most, when they need it most – which is right now. We are one of the few youth-serving organizations that can reach right into the homes of our families, providing critical support during this stressful time.
As part of our pandemic response, Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie is supporting and encouraging our mentors to:
- communicate with their mentees about mental health concerns.
- build new routines with their mentees that provide a sense of stability.
- connect mentees and their families to essential community supports.
The Board and Staff of Big Brothers Big Sisters Sault Ste. Marie are so proud of the efforts and continued support our mentors are providing to the youth in our programs and community. We are encouraged by the success stories that are coming in as a result of Bigs and Littles getting creative in order to stay connected while they are not able to hang out together. Whether it be by connecting over text messages, old fashioned pen pal letters, connecting on gaming systems to play games together, using social media platforms to connect virtually (face to face), and making plans for when they can get together, our mentors are providing local youth with consistency, support and a safe place to explore their feelings, thoughts and struggles during this quarantine situation.
THANK YOU to our BIG BROTHERS AND BIG SISTERS for making a difference in our community during this difficult time! #hiddenheroes