Offering continuous support for children and young people who have taken part in our Self-Management Service is something that the Health and Wellbeing Team have been working hard to develop this year. Last week we celebrated the launch of the SMS HUB – a safe online space for previous programme participants to join in discussion boards, send private messages, and attend monthly group sessions – with an online Christmas Party!
The Self-Management Service is a free, six-week Programme for children and young people who are living in Scotland with a long-term health condition. This service has been running for many years as a face-to-face Programme for young people in the Lothian region. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Children’s Health Scotland has developed a new online version of this Programme, SMS:CONNECT.
So far the team has delivered five SMS:CONNECT Programmes this year, supporting over 40 children and young people aged between 10 and 17, to help them better manage their health conditions. This new online service means that children from all over Scotland are able to join in the sessions, with individuals joining us from Tayside, Fife and Glasgow, as well as from the Lothian area. Once participants have taken part in the Programme they will now be offered the opportunity to join our new SMS HUB, an online space developed with Digital Bricks, where they can continue to receive support from the Health and Wellbeing Team. Laura Smith, Head of Health and Wellbeing Services said of the Programme:
“We support children and young people for six-weeks during our SMS Programmes, and, after taking part, we are often told that they wish the Programmes had lasted longer. We know that they really value having time to talk about their health and wellbeing, and to learn about coping skills, as well as having opportunities to meet with other children and young people with health conditions. We are delighted that we now have a space that they can continue to do so once their Programme ends. The SMS Hub will be a safe, online community, where children and young people can access helpful information, join discussions, stay in touch, hear about new opportunities, and stay in touch with their peers.”
On Thursday 17th December we celebrated the launch of our HUB by throwing back-to-back Christmas Parties for both our 10-12 age group and our 13-17 group. Over 20 young people joined in the parties where we played Christmas editions of Family Fortunes and the much-loved Scavenger Hunt. We also asked participants about their goals and concerns for 2021, so that we can ensure we design a HUB Programme of monthly sessions that will be useful and engaging for the children and young people that we support. The groups created whiteboards during the sessions that demonstrate the topics we hope to cover in the coming year.
Referrals are now OPEN for our January SMS:CONNECT Programme. Referrals can be made by health professionals or you can self-refer using our secure online form at the top of our website: Children and Young People’s SMS:CONNECT Service – Children’s Health Scotland