Youth Friendly Services in Greece
“Dance to their tune” concept, WHO, Vienna 2003.
In Greece, despite the increased needs of adolescents, there are only a small number of adolescent health centers, mainly in the capital of Athens. The Adolescent Health Unit (A.H.U.) of the Second Dept. of Pediatrics, “P. & A. Kyriakou” Childrens’ Hospital (www.youth-health.gr ) in Athens is a model youth friendly service, functioning since 2006. It was founded based on the basic guidelines of the WHO, providing primary, secondary, and preventive health care services in adolescents from 11 to 18 years of age and their families. A.H.U.’s staff is multidisciplinary and aims to an holistic approach to the issues of teenagers referred or seeking help. Pediatricians, adolescent psychiatrist, gynecologists, dermatologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, psychologists, special educators, family counselors and other specialists with knowledge and experience work together based on the following:
Confidentiality (this point is very crucial, as teenagers may firstly visit the AHU alone, with no accompanying adult/or parent and although it raises legal and ethical dilemmas it is non negotiable for this kind of services ).
Holistic approach (care of both physical and mental health), regardless of the initial referral reason. HEEADSS assessment tool is used, which is a screening acronym (Home, Education, Eating, Activities, Drugs, Sexuality, Suicide/Depression).
Sufficient time for the establishment of a warm therapist-adolescent bonding aiming to trust and assessment of the psychosocial status and private issues.
“Drop in” services, meaning they can visit on demand, if necessary, due to concrete thinking and fixation to present tense regarding age characteristics for processing reality.
Motivated, caring and “friendly„ staff willing to meet the challenges of the age period.
Suitable opening hours (from «day to night»), in order to facilitate school attendance and challenging activity patterns.
Youth adjusted room environment, outside, yet near a hospital.