Image 1
No child is really responsible for causing self-harm.

However, at some point in life he or she decides to take control of the situation,

as long as there is support.

Anastasia, 15 years
Image 2
A new day rises - full of surprises!

Make it yours,

"conquer" it.

Alexia, 12 years
Image 3
Some things in life are thought to be given.

Ηowever, there are people who miss essential goods.

Spyros, 16 years
Image 4
During adolescence, friends are most important,

they are the ones who affect us more.

Fotis, 17 years
Image 5
I feel very strong at one moment,

and very weak,

the next (moment).

Joanna, 17 years
Image 6
Don’t criticize your child, only his or her actions.

Eleftheria, 17 years
Image 7
Latest News

Adolescence and the Definition of Health by W.H.O.
Adolescence is a transition period from childhood to adulthood, which is generally characterized by good health. Nevertheless, it is a period with specific health challenges and developmental needs that differ from those of children and adults. Important changes take place such as physical - hormonal (i.e puberty, musculo – skeletal etc), neurodevelopmental (emotional responses, sleep regulation, cognitive capacities), psychological and social. These special characteristics are often related to the emergence of certain health issues and high risk behaviours in adolescence.
The most common health related issues observed in this specific age group (12 – 24 years) are:
·Accidents and injuries, both unintentional and self damage
·Mental health challenges, including depression feelings, and suicidal ideation, anxiety, low self esteem, anger management, violence etc
·Substance use and abuse
·Sexual health topics
·Eating disorders and physical condition extremes
·Sports medicine
·Infectious diseases
·Chronic illnesses

The term «health» - definition
WHO’s constitution defines health as: “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This definition, which includes the absence of disease or infirmity on the one hand and well-being on the other, is as relevant today as it was when it was formulated in 1948.
When referring to adolescent health, the concept of wellbeing is particularly important. Wellbeing relies on being well in every aspect– physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, sexually and spiritually. For any person, imbalance in one or more of these areas negatively affects wellbeing. Factors Influencing Health and Wellbeing include:
·Environmental factors
·Socio-economic factors
·Community capacity
·Health behaviours
·Person related factors
Therefore, identifying and understanding the aforementioned factors and the adolescent health behaviours in general remains the key for developing appropriate policies and services - in order to promote wellbeing.
WHO puts a priority for adolescent health and encourages the development of adolescent friendly health services, to better meet the needs of teenagers, with qualitative dimensions: equitable, accessible, acceptable, appropriate and effective.
In Greece, adolescents (10- 18 of age) constitute 11% of the total population and just as in other western countries, they face the spectrum of youth’s health problems and experimental behaviours.
The teenage period - with all its peculiarities - presents special difficulties for those involved in health promotion and health services. Health workers feel uncomfortable and inadequate to deal with teenagers and often deal superficially with their problems.
It should also be kept in mind that adolescence is an age with many challenges in developing interpersonal relationships. The participation of health workers with appropriate knowledge and experience in the medical staff, may contribute to the limitation of the difficulties in patient- physician communication.
Most of the adolescents present symptoms related to physiological processes of puberty (e.g. acne, lack of iron, excessive stress etc). It is estimated that only 10-15% of adolescents suffer from a severe chronic illness (e.g. diabetes mellitus, cystic fibrosis) and need - in addition to monitoring from the panel of therapists - strong support during puberty in order to experience the changes as painless as possible and in a functional way.
An important fact is that about 2/3 of the problems observed during adolescence are preventable and curable and that many of future health adulthood conditions (e.g. obesity, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, cancers, infertility) may be significantly reduced via health educating present adolescents. In addition, young people establish habits and knowledge that will determine future quality of life.

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 ( ) 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.

Services & Activities of the A.H.U.

A.H.U performs in all clinical, educational and research levels

A.H.U. meets the needs of 600 visits/monthly (7000/yearly).

Adolescent medicine is practiced based on individualized needs, e.g. physical development, nutrition and physical activity, screening for infectious diseases, dental health, eye screening, chronic disease, immunization etc. High risk behavior screening and prevention (substance misuse, STIs, interpersonal violence etc), with an emphasis on encouraging adolescents towards a healthier life style. This involves the development of life skills towards self esteem, anger management, respect for differentiality, values of life and moral IQ, promoting youth participationand involvement of peers, family and teachers.

Special services:

  • Endocrinology
  • Dermatology
  • Gynecology
  • Learning disorders and ADHD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Family Counseling, support, psychoeducation
  • Psychosocial Health (dealing with anxiety, anger management, self-esteem issues, suicidal ideation etc)
  • Sport Medicine
  • Prevention (vaccinations, high risk behavior education, Health Check-up etc)

Other activities :

  1. A.H.U operates a free of charge support line called "Support", related to high risk behavior technology issues (internet addiction, cyber-bullying, grooming, inappropriate internet content etc). The helpline is in collaboration with the NGO «For Adolescent Health», under the auspices of ENACSO (European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online) and addresses the needs of youth, family and school educators.
  2. Educational visits to schools, parent associations and municipalities, concerning youth health issues and quality of life (vaccinations, sex education, internet safety etc). Educational programs are applied, through a “train the trainer” approach and “peer to peer” youth participation (interactive learning through workshops, activities, demonstrations etc).
  3. Creation of educational material and brochures, in cooperation with the Health Ministry, to be used in schools, waiting rooms, meetings, event and online.
  4. Adolescence from “A to Z„ : a Parent Academy. 10 monthly two-hour interactive sessions for parents, concerning adolescent health and behavior, free of charge.
  5. ENABLE -European Network Against Bullying in Learning and Leisure Environments.
  6. A European project in collaboration with «For Adolescent Health» that aims to tackle bullying in an holistic way and support children to exercise their fundamental rights at home, school and community.
  7. "Live without bullying" in collaboration with the NGO KMOP-kindling a better world , AHU participates to the relevant platform, which aims to provide advice to children and adolescents facing problems of bullying all over the country. Through this electronic platform children/adolescents can communicate (anonymously) with peers and older students who have been trained as “mediators-advisors„ dealing with bullying issues. All conversations take place under the supervision of professional psychologists. Also, the program offers support to parents and teachers, through messaging systems
  8. “Schoolers”: a program for adolescents with school refusal (Youth Care Day Center). A.H.U runs this innovative activity for the first time in Greece, offering creative options for school droppers, aiming to their re-adjustment to school life.
  9. “ARIADNE”: a network of specialists and educators all over Greece trained and sensitized in adolescent health issues. The network is active and has a lot of activities in a local level, communicates through e-mails, newsletters and has top yearly events updating knowledge and expertise.
  10. Research projects concerning major youth health issues (eating disorders, sexual behavior, psychosocial wellbeing, technology addiction, vaccination etc). AHU’s research leads to publications in the International and Greek literature and has been awarded with 15 scientific awards. EU NET ADB is a European break through research project on internet addictive behaviors and other high risk symptomatology, coordinated by A.H.U.
  11. Youth to Youth Channels. This is a very innovative idea, through which young people work together and create material for their peers, mainly through technology (websites, social media, applications etc.). Some examples in English is the website Self-Chess and the Instagram accounts teen_break and girly_note.

Colaborators - Networking