Mentoring During the Transition from Care to Prevent Depression: Care Leavers’ Perspectives

J. A. Newton*, T. O. Harris, K. Hubbard, T. K.J. Craig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


A small-scale consultation of care leavers in South London was undertaken in 2013–2014, in order to inform a pilot mentoring scheme to reduce depression in young women through supporting their transition from care to independence. Research on the social factors implicated in the onset and course of depression indicates that social support during stressful events can be protective. Youth mentoring is now widely offered to disadvantaged young people. This paper examines what some young people told us about if and how our proposed mentoring intervention might help in maintaining their well-being through the stress of leaving care. Eleven participants of focus group discussions told us they could see clear benefits in receiving mentoring at this time, and discussed the kind of mentor and activities they might like. However, most did not want a mentor now. Thematic analysis of the discussions arising identified unpaid, open-ended ‘natural mentoring’ relationships as particularly important to them in maintaining their well-being. We consider the fit with related research, and emerging new policy, and the implications for our proposed study, and conclude that supporting the establishment and continuation of natural mentoring is a particularly promising way forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)317-330
Number of pages14
JournalPractice. Social Work in Action
Issue number5
Early online date31 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2017


  • care leavers
  • depression
  • looked after children
  • mental health
  • mentoring
  • prevention
  • social support


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