Not so ‘hard to reach’ with a non-judgemental approach

Dorcas Gwata tells Clare Lomas that engaging with young people affected by gang culture requires an innovative, non-judgemental approach

Dorcas Gwata tells Clare Lomas that engaging with young people affected by gang culture requires an innovative, non-judgemental approach.

Abstract

‘Prison is no place for children,’ says clinical nurse specialist Dorcas Gwata, winner of the Nursing Standard 2015 mental health nursing award.

Ms Gwata works in the Westminster Integrated Gang Unit – part of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust’s Westminster child and adolescent service – where she provides mental health interventions to those involved in gang culture.

‘The young people I look after are affected by stabbings, anxieties, social phobias from gang reprisals and psychosis associated with high levels of substance misuse from an early age,’ says Ms Gwata.

‘Young girls who associate with gang members are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, which often spirals into self-harming behaviours, anxiety and depression.’

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This article was first published in print under the original title 'Not so ‘hard to reach’' in Nursing Standard: volume 30, issue 5

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