Having extra knowledge and resources within a school is great. However, there will be cases where a young person may need professional support which is beyond the resources and/or capability of the school.

It is important to know when it is appropriate to make a referral and also, who you should make the referral to. An established relationship with a local service will help this process.

Essentially, it is appropriate to refer whenever you feel that you do not have the knowledge or skill to support your students to the extent to which they need or when a young person’s drug and alcohol support needs are serious enough to warrant specialist support.  A referral to a specialist service won’t always result in the immediate commencement of support by the service but should always be helpful in discussing the needs of the young person providing you with the best options.

YoDAA can assess the need for specialist support, help the referral process or advise on support you can provide

In addition to this, referral is always appropriate when a student requests extra help, or if you think that they may benefit more from an outside service. As well as an increase in substance use, think about other factors which may see the student ‘at risk'. For instance, if they are constantly being disciplined and are at risk of formal exclusion, or if they are truanting a lot, it may be a sign that support outside the school is necessary.

If you are not sure whether or not to refer, talking to YoDAA is a good first-step. We can assess the need for specialist support, help the referral process or advise on interventions, planning and support you can provide.