Make a referral

Referrals to our service can be made by professionals, parents, or young people themselves.

Please be aware that we are a voluntary service and young people need to be aware of, and consent to, a referral being made.

If you are ready to make a referral to us, please complete a referral form and return this to us by email.

The initial section about the young person is required for all referrals. After this, you should complete either the section for Y-SMART referrals about a young person who is using alcohol or substances (or both) or the section about a young person’s parents, carers or siblings who are using alcohol or substances (or both). This type of referral is known as a Y-Project referral.

There are Word and PDF versions of the form available – please be aware that if you use the PDF form you will need PDF editor software installed.

Next steps: Guidance for young people

When we receive your referral, we’ll send you a message to confirm that we’ve received it. At this point, we’ll carefully go through your referral to make sure we have all the right information. Sometimes, we might reach out to you if we’re unsure about anything.

Our goal is to assign your case to one of our practitioners as soon as we can. Please understand that our service is quite busy, and we have to prioritise cases based on their level of need. If we believe your referral can’t be allocated within a month, we’ll get in touch with you to let you know.

Once your referral is assigned, we’ll send you another email to inform you about this.

Now that you have a practitioner to work with, they’ll try to get in touch with you to set up a meeting. You might receive a call from a number that’s hidden, and we won’t usually leave a voicemail because we want to respect your privacy. If we can’t reach you by phone, we might try contacting the person who referred you. If you referred yourself, we might send you a letter or an email.

We’ll want to know the best time and place for our meeting. It could be at your home, in our office, or at your school/college. We’ll do our best to be flexible about this. We appreciate that reaching out for help is a significant step, and we want to make it as straightforward as possible for you.

At your first appointment

The initial meeting we have with you is really important. We’ll explain how we handle confidentiality and what you can expect from us. We’ll want to learn more about why we’re meeting, which means we’ll ask about your life, particularly in relation to how drugs or alcohol (or both) are a part of it. We’ll ask you questions, and it might take a couple of appointments to gather all the information.

Your care plan

The people we support all have different goals, and we’ll work with you to achieve what you want concerning your drug and alcohol use. For some, this could mean helping them quit or cut down. For others, it might involve understanding the risks associated with drugs and how they work or getting tips on how to sleep without using drugs.

You might also have broader issues like getting into college or finding work that can impact your drug or alcohol use. Everyone’s situation is unique, so your support plan will be tailored to you, and we’ll work on this together.

The methods we use

We use different ways to help young people with drug and alcohol issues. Our main approach is to help you make safer choices.

We explain the risks clearly and always encourage you to stop using substances but we understand that not everyone can or wants to stop, so we don’t make it a rule to use our service. We want to help you make safer choices, and for many young people, that means stopping.

Our trained practitioners use different techniques, like:

  • motivational interviewing
  • cognitive behaviour therapy
  • solution focused therapy
  • dialectical behaviour therapy

Apart from drug and alcohol support, we also help with other health matters, like sexual health. Our practitioners are trained and can give you information, offer Chlamydia screening, and provide condoms.

We also have a nursing team that can help young people with specific needs related to drug use, safer injecting, and recovery assessments.