Services for Young People Hertfordshire Services for Young People

Services for Young People’s Hospital Youth Work Project reduces young people’s attendance at emergency departments

31 January 2023

In 2022 the Services for Young People Hospital Youth Work Team supported 914 young people attending Lister and Watford Hospitals with their social and emotional wellbeing.

SfYP and Hospital Youth Work Project logos

Services for Young People (SfYP) Hospital Youth Workers work closely with the NHS to support young people in hospital and other healthcare settings in Hertfordshire.

Of the 914 young people they worked with in 2022, 481 received support for over six weeks, 158 joined a Services for Young People project in their area for further ongoing support, and 124 were referred to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Community Team, reflecting the increasing number of mental health presentations at both hospitals.

Last year the SfYP Hospital Youth Work Team launched their Frequent Attender Project which focuses on young people who attend one of the hospital’s emergency departments five or more times a year for reasons such as self-harm, low mood or anxiety. Frequent attenders make up a significant proportion of all visits, rising from 3.7% to 9.3% over the last 15 years in one NHS trust.

Those identified as frequent attenders are offered an individually tailored plan to address the social and emotional issues that may be causing the attendances. The team monitors the number of visits, and the data has shown a reduction in attendances after referral to the SfYP Hospital Youth Workers.

Point of care NHS staff are increasingly recognising the young people in their care who would benefit from the service, and the numbers of young people referred is increasing year on year.

Comments from some of the young people supported by the Hospital Youth Work Team:

“I liked how inclusive and caring the support was… and how varied it was. It helped me gain a massive understanding of me and my mental health as well as ways to cope and deal with it in a safe way.”

“I liked being able to know I had [the Hospital Youth Worker] whenever I needed her, and she would always be there for me and not judge me.”

“I had someone who could help me manage my issues and going to the [SfYP] project I was around more people like me and I could focus on music which I'm passionate about.”

So that as many young people as possible can access the support, the Hospital Youth Workers can arrange follow up meetings in school as well as in the community, and they offer phone and video call support as well as face-to face sessions.

More information about the SfYP Hospital Youth Work Project