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Youth Workers in A&E

We are proud to fund Scotland’s first dedicated mental health service for children and young people at accident and emergency.

Run by 6VT Edinburgh City Youth Cafe and funded by ECHC, the service aims to ensure that vulnerable children and young people get the help and support they need when in crisis.

It bases two youth workers, trained in supporting under 18s with a range of emotional, physical and social needs, in the Emergency Department (ED) of Edinburgh’s children’s hospital from 7pm – 1am on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The youth workers help any child or young person presenting with self-harm, substance, domestic or physical abuse to make sure their rights and wishes are conveyed.

Importantly, for those in difficult or conflicting family or personal circumstances, the youth workers help to encourage more positive relationships. The service also has connections with a range of community and support groups so is a vital link between the young person and relevant follow up care, if they would like it.

After a violent attack on me, I was taken to hospital because of the injuries where I was referred to the ED youth workers. It took me a while to feel confident enough to go out after what happened as I was so scared but the youth workers helped me so much to get through it. The service is so important. It was good having someone to speak to that wasn’t family or a friend.

Young person who was supported by the ED youth workers

In the last year, despite the impact of Covid-19, the service has supported a total of 335 children and young people experiencing a range of challenges.

Children and young people admitted into the hospital through the Emergency Department over the weekend are then supported throughout the duration of their hospital stay by ECHC’s Youth Work Team. Those who are not admitted into the hospital are given follow up support in the community by 6VT.

We are enormously proud to fund this valuable and worthwhile service, but rely entirely on donations to be able to continue to do so. If you would like to help support life-changing projects like this one, find out how you can by clicking below.