If you’ve been following this blog for longer than five minutes, you already know I’m a staunch champion of mentoring (plus the blog title kind of gives it away).
And not just for eating disorders recovery, either, or even for recovery in general – I’m also a huge fan of mentoring just for living life.
Mentoring (like feathers) makes everything better.
From the moment I met my first mentor, the alienation I had always felt from everyone and everything else began to fade.
At last, another being SAW me.
A single other soul really LOOKED at me – into me – noticed me.
I felt known – like my name suddenly took on greater meaning, and so did my life.
If I tripped and fell, someone else would care (and bring a band-aid and antiseptic wipes).
If I had a great day (or even a great minute) someone would cheer and celebrate with me.
The gift of mentoring changed my life – my whole world.
Since founding MentorCONNECT in 2009, I have been working with a wonderful researcher, Dr. Marisol Perez, and her team at Texas A&M University to quantify the value of mentoring as a source of support during the eating disorders recovery process.
On August 22nd, all of our combined years of hard work came to fruition when the results of our 2010 research survey was published in the Journal of Eating Disorders.
I am just beyond pleased, grateful, proud, and also not surprised at the results of the survey. Yes, mentoring is beneficial! Yes, mentoring deserves further study and research! Yes, the wonderful support and help I received from my first mentor (and so many other mentors through the years) could potentially help other struggling people too!
I am delighted to share a summary from the published study here – click on the link below (or the graphic to the right) to read the full published text.
Title: Preliminary examination of a mentor-based program for eating disorders
From the Abstract:
There is a current and pressing need for recovery resources for individuals suffering from eating disorders. Mentoring programs have been useful with other psychiatric disorders such as addictions, and may be useful for individuals recovering from an eating disorder. The present study sought to examine a mentoring program for individuals working towards recovery from an eating disorder.
The study included mentors (i.e., individuals who have recovered from an eating disorder for an extended period of time), and mentees (i.e., individuals who were in the process of recovering from an eating disorder and wanting additional support aside from their treatment team). Participants included 141 participants, consisting of 34 mentors, 58 mentees who matched with a mentor, and 49 mentees searching for a mentor. Participants completed questions assessing eating disorder symptoms, quality of life, motivation towards recovery, and treatment compliance.
Matched mentees reported higher levels of quality of life on 7 out of 12 domains, and missed fewer appointments with treatment providers when compared to unmatched mentees. There were no differences between matched and unmatched mentees on motivation, energy or confidence towards recovery.
Findings suggest a mentor model is beneficial for individuals engaged in the process of recovering from an eating disorder in the areas of quality of life and treatment compliance. Specifically, mentees in a mentoring relationship reported better family and close relationships, future outlook, and psychological, emotional, and physical well-being than unmatched mentees. Mentors reported being positively impacted by the mentoring relationship by strengthening the skills they learned while in recovery, and reminding them of how far they had come in their own recovery. The findings in this study suggest that mentor programs warrant further investigation as ancillary support services for individuals recovering from an eating disorder.
==> Full text: http://www.jeatdisord.com/content/2/1/24#B25
Today’s Takeaway: Did you ever just “know that you knew” something – but couldn’t prove it? What did that feel like to try to put your inner intuitive knowledge into words – to transmit to someone else what you know in a way that might be useful to them also? Have you ever been on the receiving end of such a communication – hearing someone “swear” that something will help you, but wanting more proof before you give it a try?