Mentoring for Improving the Self-Esteem, Resilience, and Hope of Unaccompanied Migrant Youth in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 May 14;18(10):5210. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18105210.


In the last few years, the number of unaccompanied youths arriving in Europe has increased steadily. During their settlement in host countries, they are exposed to a great variety of vulnerabilities, which have an impact on their mental health. This research examines the effects of participation in a mentoring programme on the psychological and educational outcomes among unaccompanied migrant youths who live in the Barcelona metropolitan area. Data in this mixed-methods study were obtained from 44 surveys with mentored (treatment group) and non-mentored (control group) male youths who had recently turned 18, as well as through thirty semi-structured interviews with mentored youths, their adult mentors, and non-mentored youths. Our findings indicated that participation in the mentoring programme improved the mentored youths' self-esteem, resilience, and hope, as well as their desired or expected educational outcomes in this new context. We conclude that well-targeted and problem-specific mentoring programmes have positive and marked effects on unaccompanied migrant youths' mental health. The social and political implications of these outcomes are also discussed, providing information on how interventions can offer effective networks of support for the settlement and social inclusion of unaccompanied migrant youths.

Keywords: mental health; mentoring; migrant youth; mixed methods; resilience; unaccompanied.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Mentoring*
  • Mentors
  • Self Concept