2018 07 05 PA training writing notes


It can be a challenge for young people to open up to health professionals and their concerns are understandable. Will what I say to my health professional remain confidential? Will they judge me for what I’m telling them? Yet at the same time, the facts about the importance of adolescent health are compelling:

  • 80% of lifetime cannabis and alcohol use is initiated by the age of 20.
  • 50% of lifetime mental illness starts by age 15.
  • 8/10 obese teenagers become obese adults.
  • 8/10 adult smokers start as teenagers.
  • 70% of adult preventable deaths are the result of behaviours initiated or reinforced in adolescence.

It’s clear that supporting teenagers to make healthy lifestyle choices and identifying any physical and mental health issues as early as possible can have a major, lifelong impact on their wellbeing.  So, how can we support young people to feel comfortable about opening up about their health, and how can we support professionals to get the most out of their interactions with young people? That’s where the Teen Health Talk Project and our youth worker training project comes in.

The Children & Young People’s Health Partnership (CYPHP), in partnership with the Well Centre  and the Health Innovation Network (HIN) have been testing an innovative way of supporting young people’s health in Lambeth and Southwark. We have been awarded a HIN Small Grant to train youth workers in the use of the Teen Health Talk.

This tool for comprehensive and age-appropriate  health assessments (which is similar to the CYPHP Health Check used for younger children) is already being used in a clinical setting in the Well Centre. Through this project, we can go beyond healthcare settings and take health interventions to where local young people already are, and harness the trusted relationships that they’ve already built with professionals like youth workers. This innovation has links with the KAOS  (King’s Adolescent Outreach Service) project, where we’re supporting the team at King’s College Hospital as they develop an outreach model of holistic support for young people admitted to adult wards at King’s.


During May and June, CYPHP has trained around 25 youth workers from Redthread and London Gang Exit. Their feedback on the training was highly positive:

“Great, gave me a lot of ideas on working with clients around health and wellbeing” (Participant, 7th June session)

“I learnt the importance of addressing health during conversations with the young people we work with. This links in with issues such as substance abuse, self-harm, youth violence and sexuality which we are dealing with on a daily basis as youth workers.” (Participant, 10th May session)


Our next step will be to meet with a focus group of the youth workers who participated to see how the training has had an impact on their work with their clients.


Interested in how we’re innovating in adolescent health?

We’re also working on promoting the use of the Teen Health Talk in general practice. Learn more here.

We’re working with the team at King’s College Hospital as they launch KAOS (the King’s Adolescent Outreach Service), a new way of supporting young people who are inpatients in adult hospital wards, including youth work support. Check out the latest from the team on Twitter @KAOS_Kings.


To see more of the latest news from CYPHP, please click here.

This is not an emergency service, please contact 999 if someone is seriously ill and their life is at risk