Scouts help young people to develop their physical, mental and spiritual life. The new study by the scientists from the University of Edinburgh and Glasgow also suggests that scouts & guides have better mental health in later life. In the middle age, scouts & guides are less likely to develop mental illness or depression. But children who participate with the purpose of developing skills like self-reliance, resolve and a desire for self-learning are likely to build up resilience and skills. This will also help them through tough times.
Scientists held a study with 10,000 people from across the UK. They tested people who were born in November 1958, and who took part in the National Child Development Study. After examining the data, they found that those who had belonged to the scouts & guides have better mental health at age 50.
About one-quarter of the participants were in the scouts and guides. They were found to be 15 percent less likely to suffer from anxiety or mood disorders than others.
lead researcher Professor Chris Dibben said, “It is quite startling that this benefit is found in people so many years after they have attended guides or scouts.”
“We expect the same principles would apply to the scouts and guides. Through this, the high costs of mental ill health to individuals and society, a focus on voluntary youth programs such as the guides and scouts might be very sensible,” he added.
Attending scouts and the guides may help build resilience against common stresses in life. It also may help increase person’s chances of achieving more in life. Thus, they are less likely to experience such stresses. The research also suggests that those programs which help children to develop various skills may have lifelong benefits.
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout of the Scout Association, said, “I am really proud that scouting provides young people with an opportunity to develop the skills they need to be resilient and deal with what life throws at them.”
“Through initiatives such as our A Million Hands Campaign, the Scout Association is helping give young people the ability to develop mental wellbeing throughout their lives,” he added.