18 May 2022

Supporting Young People Across Lothian When They Need It Most

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Teenage girl talking to adult for advice and support

NHS Lothian Charity is proud to be supporting Medics Against Violence and NHS Lothian on the innovative ‘Youth Navigator’ project, helping children and young people to navigate through some of the complex issues that sometimes bring them to hospital, and find the path to a healthier and more positive future.

Dr Christine Goodall, Director of Medics Against Violence, explains more about the Youth Navigator service and the benefits it provides:

“Youth Navigators are a team of trained youth workers who are on hand in the Paediatric Acute Receiving Unit of the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Edinburgh and the Emergency Department and Children’s Ward of St John’s Hospital, Livingston to work with vulnerable young people aged between 12 and 16 who are at crisis point or approaching crisis point. This is what we call a ‘reachable moment’ and is when people are more open to accepting support.

“The team works alongside doctors, nurses and community youth work organisations to ensure that we are available to provide support at these reachable moments, making sure that our young people receive the right care at the right time to help them get things back on track. Our youth work service model supports these young people through a combination of hospital and community based support, giving those who are supported by the service the connections and tools they need for a happier and healthier future, and ensuring that they are best supported when they leave us.

“Our Youth Navigators offer proactive support, understanding that change is possible and that poor outcomes are not inevitable. They help young people whose circumstances are particularly challenging, providing the consistent support they need to make different life choices.

“Collaboration and building relationships is key to everything we do, to ensure patients achieve better outcomes for themselves and their families, and we are so grateful to be working together with partners across the region to be able to offer this youth work based community outreach service to the young people we care for. Special thanks to NHS Lothian Charity for supporting us to launch this service across NHS Lothian and begin our ambitious journey to providing this support across Scotland and ensure no-one is left behind.”

Dr Alison McLuckie is the Lead Clinician for Youth Navigator in NHS Lothian and has been working closely with Medics Against Violence to set up the programme in Edinburgh. She said:

“This youth work based approach helps us reach vulnerable young people at a moment that really counts, working closely with them to affect positive change. Having the Youth Navigator service available at such a critical point will really benefit vulnerable young people, particularly during these times of increased stress and anxiety. It is on all of us to help support positive change, and providing support based on what the young person needs and wants is key to that. I am privileged to work with so many people who are incredibly motivated to support young people towards better outcomes and help prevent young people from presenting at Emergency Departments over and over again. My hope for Youth Navigator is that we can do something today that makes a difference to a young person tomorrow, and for years to come.”

adolescent girl talking to a healthcare worker

With your continued support, we can help NHS Lothian be there for our young people, now and in the future