New online support for adolescents who need emergency care

30th March 2021

Young people who attend Emergency Departments across the Southern and Belfast Trust are set to be part of a pilot project aimed at improving the services offered to them.

All young people (aged 12 -18) will be given a leaflet with some questions for them to reflect on while waiting to be seen. The leaflet will also signpost them to a new website – youngpeopleni.org – developed by the Adolescent Network NI, to support young people on all issues important to them.

Dr Lyndsay Loughins and Dr Elli McCormick, both Consultants in Emergency Medicine and Paediatric Medicine and Specialist Registrar in Emergency Medicine and Paediatric Medicine, Philip Martin, alongside colleagues from the Belfast Trust, have been involved in creating the website which has been designed as an all-encompassing signposting page, with links to vetted resources and support.

Dr Loughins said that they hope that this new pilot project and website “is a first step in making our services more accessible to young people.

“We recognise the anxieties and challenges often faced by young people attending ED, particularly with sensitive issues like mental health. We want to do our very best to understand young people and make sure they feel comfortable accessing services to get the vital support they need.

“The screening questions in the leaflet are designed to pick up on a wide range of potential areas where we could intervene and help, such as mental health, drugs and alcohol or problems at home and bullying, before the young person reaches a crisis point.

“Following this they will have the option of speaking to their doctor or nurse for assessment or go to the website for details on the services available to them.

“With so much information online, it may be difficult for young people to know where to find the right help. The website is there to access without a referral to a wide range of information and services from trusted sources for young people who find themselves in need.”

It is hoped that with continued success the initiative could be rolled out across the region.