Since 2020 there has been a significant rise in the number of children and young people attending hospital emergency departments (ED) for mental health issues in England. Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals (ASPH) are proud to be partnering with local, young people’s charity east to west to bring the ‘Emerge Project’ to young people that visit our hospitals.
east to west are a charity working with primary and secondary schools across Surrey, Windsor and Hampshire, that support families and young people facing a wide range of wellbeing and mental health issues.
The ‘Emerge Project’ started at the Royal Surrey County Hospital (run by Emerge Advocacy), helping young people and adults aged from 10 to 25 years who come to the emergency department (ED) for mental health support. east to west have been working with Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals (ASPH) since April 2019 and are also providing follow-up support in the community, where this is appropriate.
How ‘Emerge’ helped young people during 2020 and 2021
Since starting, the team of volunteers has grown to 10 and they are now able to provide the service 4 evenings per week. The ASPH ED and Paediatric teams really value the support of the Emerge Volunteers; an A&E Dr commented one evening “you’re brilliant, I remember the time you sat with a boy for hours when we were busy”.
Stories from young people interacting with the Emerge volunteers demonstrate the huge impact that they are having, simply by spending time, listening and providing hope for the future.
Parents are amazed at how their children will open up to these ‘strangers’ and are often more willing to engage in support and care plans following their interaction. Being able to offer some on-going support in the community, away from the hospital setting and link young people to ‘east to west’ workers in their schools is also an added benefit.
"My daughter says she was so glad to speak with someone that evening, it was relaxing and she felt listened to."
"Thank you. It's been nice to talk about things that aren't medical."
Service user comment
Although these are challenging times for our NHS, projects like Emerge can offer hope to young people and support to staff in the toughest of times. We are privileged to have this, growing service, in our hospital and look forward to many more ‘good news’ stories from the team.