NHS Lothian Children’s Services says that thousands of children and young people across Scotland will now have access to important wellbeing resources with the launch of its new digital Wellbeing Hub.

Following the launch of the new Children’s Services website, a Wellbeing Hub has been developed which will provide an interactive, engaging platform with expert support for young people aged 12–17 in Scotland. A children’s section for 5–11-year-olds has been launched simultaneously.

The Wellbeing Hub was designed in collaboration with key partners including CAMHS, the Children’s Rights Commissioner for Scotland, Young Scot, Chalmers Sexual Health Services, and Sleep Scotland. All of these partners were instrumental in providing outstanding resources and guidance in the development of a hub which would be fit for purpose for children and young people across Scotland.

The new hub has information to support a young person’s physical and mental wellbeing with topics such as anxiety, body image, social media, sleep, healthy relationships and consent featuring on the website. The Wellbeing hub also incorporates Children’s Health Scotland’s SMS self-management service, advice about drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and support for young carers. 

Young people will be able to access tools and resources, including top tips, videos and animations to help manage their own wellbeing.  With an increasing focus on the benefits of youth work, the Hub also includes a tool to ‘Find a Youth Club’ along with how to speak to a youth worker while in hospital.

NHS Lothian worked with Passion4Social, a social enterprise that nurtures the talent of people with disabilities, to develop and build the site with funding made available through Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity.  

Zoe Paige, Project Manager, Children’s Services, NHS Lothian, said: “Protecting and providing for the wellbeing and health of children and young people is a priority for the Children’s Services at all times and we know that there is a growing need for people to have digital choices if they are struggling and need to reach out, and the pandemic has only made this need more urgent.  

“Colleagues and partners have been eager to bring helpful content together and make our Wellbeing Hub a reality. It was really important that we made our Wellbeing Hub as engaging and interactive as possible. The Wellbeing Hub encourages young people to feel empowered to seek out information on many things they might be struggling with or need advice online within a few clicks. 

“The Children’s Services team at the RHCYP are always looking for ways to improve access to wellbeing support and we’re proud to continue to expand our Children’s Services website to support children and young people and their families. We have ambitious plans for its continued development.”

Professor Cathy Richards, Lead Clinician and Head of Psychology at CAMHS, said: “At CAMHS, we are thrilled that children, young people and families in the Lothians and across Scotland will benefit from access to the Wellbeing Hub. Young people who use the new platform can access mental health resources and information that are designed to keep them engaged and they can find recommendations for additional resources based on their needs. 

“The new hub contains information that has been created or recommended by the NHS Lothian CAMHS Psychology team. This includes some newly developed online information sessions for parents on supporting children with anxiety and access to computerised CBT.” 

Leanne Hughes, Communications Officer, Healthy Respect (Chalmers Sexual Health Services), said: “Young People can sometimes be embarrassed or unsure about accessing Sexual Health Services. We hope that the Wellbeing Hub will help to normalise using our services and highlight what is available locally for those 13+. The hub signposts to key Sexual Health information and resources in a way that makes sense to young people.” 

Bruce Adamson, Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland, said: “Children and young people have the right to good healthcare, to have decisions made in their best interests and to be a part of those decisions. They should also get all the information needed to make choices about care. 

“Good healthcare means that children can get the care they need, when they need it and that adults support them to get all of their human rights. The Wellbeing Hub will help children grow in confidence and understanding about the rights that they are entitled to in healthcare settings and will signpost them to extra support.”

Alyson O’Brien, Sleep Services Manager at Sleep Scotland, said: “Sleep Scotland is delighted to be working with the Wellbeing Hub. Children’s Services are committed to the health and wellbeing of children and young people in Scotland, and we wanted young people to understand that a lack of sleep can be detrimental to their physical and mental wellbeing.”