SDG 3: Good Health and Well-Being
We proposed an evidence-based platform that fosters dynamic, reciprocal mentorship between youth and older adults through 1:1 guided sessions to increase protective factors of mental health, specifically meaningful social connections and educational engagement. This aims to tackle the growing problem of loneliness in conjunction with governmental institutions such as the UK Ministry of loneliness.
Feelings of loneliness peaked during the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly 60% of the young population reporting high levels of loneliness. Those who were most affected were young people and older adults. Loneliness significantly impacts mental health and has been linked to depression, anxiety, and substance use. Therefore, generating wide-ranging societal mental and physical health burdens on already strained healthcare systems. As a result, many countries have already begun to address the issue of loneliness by instituting Ministries of Loneliness as a part of their mental health agenda. This proposed InterGeneration is an evidence-based platform that fosters dynamic, reciprocal mentorship between youth and older adults through 1:1 guided sessions to increase protective factors of mental health, specifically meaningful social connections and educational engagement, thereby addressing loneliness at its roots. Significant research supports the role of mentoring relationships as a means to reduce symptoms of depression and loneliness and improve the overall quality of life. While traditional mentorship programs are largely unidirectional, InterGenerations structured mentorship sessions involve the bi-directional sharing of skills and perspectives between youth and older adults and a matching algorithm based on users' context and priorities. This platform could partner with institutions such as schools, community centres, and retirement facilities. We see this project as enabling younger mentors to gain confidence, skills and access to networks. While for older mentors, this will allow them to give back to society while gaining skills and a sense of purpose. All at the same time, capitalising off the currently underutilised value of meaningful intergenerational relationships.