Mental health support for young people in A&E

Scottish Govt expands mental health programme for young people in A&E

The Scottish Government is funding an expansion of a mental health programme which supports children and young people in emergency departments.

Those aged 12-16 who are arriving at A&E in distress are supported by the Youth Navigators scheme, which links young people with trained youth workers who provide practical support and help facilitate longer-term care.

Since 2021, the initiative has helped more than 600 young people. The issues tackled include problems at home, bullying, and suicidal thoughts.

A £64,000 investment from the Scottish Government will now enable the programme to expand to NHS Lanarkshire’s University Hospital Wishaw. A pilot will also be launched in schools.

Mental wellbeing minister, Maree Todd, said: “This funding is the result of the Scottish Government listening to children, young people and families and taking direct action in the areas where they have told us more support is needed.”

She continued: “Ensuring that all children and young people can get the right mental health and wellbeing support at the right time is a key priority for this government as our continued record investment in this area goes to show.”

The Youth Navigators programme is delivered by Medics Against Violence – a clinician-led charity setup in 2008 as a response to the growing knife-crime in Scotland.

The organisation’s co-founder, Professor Christine Goodall OBE, said: “The youth work approach that the Youth Navigators take provides young people with a trusted adult with whom they can discuss their feelings and through discussing what is most important to them, put plans in place to support a safer future.”

Prof Goodall is the lead clinician for oral surgery at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. She added that the expansion is a “much needed” one, while the new pilot in schools will help “take prevention further upstream” and hopefully stop young people reaching a “crisis point”.

Image credit: iStock

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