Around 1 in 8 children and young people experience behavioural or emotional problems growing up. For some, these will resolve with time, while others will need professional support.
It can be difficult to know if there is something upsetting a child or young person, but there are ways to spot when something's wrong. Look out for:
Significant changes in behaviour;
Ongoing difficulty sleeping;
Withdrawing from social situations;
Not wanting to do things they usually like;
Self-harm or neglecting themselves
Remember, everyone feels low, angry, or anxious at times, but when these changes last for a long time or are significantly affecting them, it might be time to get professional help.
You know your child better than anyone so if you're worried, first think if there has been a significant, lasting change in their behaviour. This could be at home, school or college; with others or on their own; or in relation to specific events or changes in their life. If you're concerned or unsure, there is lots of support out there, including professional help in the support section of this page.
MindEd for Families also has information explaining some common behavioural problems in different age groups.
Local children and young people’s mental health services (CYPMHS) are continuing to operate and in many cases are providing support remotely. Children and young people or their parents or carers can also contact their GP or refer to NHS 111 online*. Local CYPMH services will also have information on access on their websites: many offer self-referral or single points of access.
NHS trusts have established 24-hour urgent mental health helplines in most parts of England for people of all ages. If you have urgent concerns about a child or young person, you can find your local helpline here* to discuss these with a mental health professional.
And remember to refer to your local children’s services if you have any safeguarding concerns.
If your child needs counselling, it doesn't mean you've failed.
Life is a struggle for many children and young people in today’s world. Thousands of parents and carers contact us to get support for their child. You’re not alone.
Many children and young people find that being able to speak confidentially to a counsellor who isn’t in their close circle of friends and family, can really help. This is where TIC+ comes in. Our counsellors are qualified professionals who are experienced at working with children and young people. They care about what they do and want the best outcome for your child. They will not judge you or anyone in your family. Click here for information about counselling.
Advice and Guidance
Bounce: Self-Harm Support for 14-25 Year Olds in Gloucestershire
This 6 week intervention offers one to one CBT counselling alongside youth work support to help with practical issues.
The aim is to explore healthier coping mechanisms and address other practical issues such as housing, benefits, finding work or training, confidence building etc. at the same time.
These resources are dedicated to children and young people’s general mental health and wellbeing, with a particular focus on mindfulness with developing coping skills in young people.
Student Space is here for students through coronavirus. However you’re feeling, help and guidance is available. Explore a range of trusted information, services and tools to help you with the challenges of student life. You can use their search tool to find the services available at your university.
NHS Apps library helps people find apps and online tools to help manage their health and wellbeing. For example:
Calm Harm* is designed to help people resist or manage the urge to self-harm.
Catch it* helps people manage feelings like anxiety and depression and improve mental wellbeing.
Sleepio*is an online sleep improvement programme which is free for people living in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.*
The Student health app is designed to reduce your worries, feel more confident and get the support you need at what can be a challenging time for any student.
Thrive * helps you prevent and manage stress, anxiety and related conditions.
Students Against Depression* is a website offering advice, information, guidance and resources to those affected by low mood, depression and suicidal thinking.
Togetherall* is available for students at eligible universities and colleges who are feeling stressed, anxious, low or not coping. It provides an anonymous online community who share troubles and support each other. It is a safe space as it is moderated by trained professionals who are available 24/7.
The Wellbeing Thesis is an online resource for postgraduate research students to support your wellbeing, learning and research.
Place2Be has a host of mental health resources available. They organise Children's Mental Health Week every year.
SafeSpot* is an iPhone and Android app that promotes positive mental wellbeing in children and young people and has been designed to help children and young people with their coping skills.
NHS:* Mental Health Helplines for Urgent Help - NHS 24-hour advice and support for you, your child, your parent or someone you care for. Help is available to speak to a mental health professional.
NHS IAPT:* free online NHS adult psychological therapies, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), for common problems involving stress, anxiety and depression. IAPT services can be accessed either through a self-referral by contacting your Local IAPT or via your GP.
Cruse Bereavement Care:* Coronavirus, Bereavement and Grief online information, advice and support. Helpline: 0808 808 1677.
Public Health England Every Mind Matters:* Looking After Your Mental Health Resources aims to support everyone to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing by promoting a range of self-care actions.
Public Health England:* Every Mind Matters Self-Care Tool when you complete the 5 ‘Survey’ questions, a ‘Mind Plan’ is generated, with signposting options to many useful resources.
For young people who feel particularly overwhelmed and troubled by Covid-19, these resources are helpful ways to manage anxiety around the pandemic, with helpful tools on homeschooling and self-care during lockdown.
A downloadable guide from the Children’s Commissioner for children and young people about the coronavirus, including proactive advice to support mental wellbeing.
The Think Ninja* app educates 10–18-year-olds about mental health, emotional wellbeing and provide skills young people can use to build resilience and stay well. It has been adapted to Covid-19 to bring self-help knowledge and skills to those who may be experiencing increased anxiety and stress during the crisis.
The Rise Above website aims to build resilience and support good mental health in young people aged 10 to 16. The content has been adapted to Covid-19 and includes new mental health content based on insights from young people on remote schooling.
The Every Mind Matters* website aims to support everyone, including children and young people, to feel more confident in taking action to look after their mental health and wellbeing by promoting a range of self-care actions. It has been adapted to include advice and support about mental health issues that may have arisen because of the pandemic.
The Young Minds website* – provides online information on COVID-19 and mental health support to children and young people.
Issue and Group-Specific Support
Sometimes, children need specific and targeted resources to help with problems they are facing. Below we have outlined some support available for particular issues, including loneliness, suicide prevention, eating disorders and domestic abuse.
Childhood Bereavement Network has a range of resources to help schools to respond to a bereavement and to provide support to bereaved pupils and their families. It also includes signposting to local bereavement services.
Find confidential local drug and alcohol support services here*or phone 03001236600* for confidential support from Talk to Frank.
Children and young people can access free confidential support anytime from Government-backed voluntary and community sector organisations by:
texting SHOUT to 85258 *
calling Childline on 0800 1111 *
calling the Mix on 0808 808 4994 or texting THEMIX to 85258 *
At Girl Rising, stories inspire us. They encourage us to see the world differently. They show us what is possible. We have put together the Girl Rising Family Guide to help bring these stories and conversations into your homes. It includes links to the film chapters, additional supporting short videos, discussion guides, and more.
The Girl Rising message has always been one of resilience and courage, of hope in the face of challenge. Those values have never felt more important than they do today.
Use of Technology
If a child or young person is using technology to cope with how they are feeling, this should not be discouraged. However, ensuring they are using the right technology should be. Check that they are using a trusted site to interact with other young people safely.
If a young person is seeking help online they should be encouraged to take regular breaks and be supported in understanding how ruminating or being overexposed to negative posts may not be helpful.
Check that the young people in your care are able to name the trusted adults in their lives – who they would speak to if they needed support.
If a young person has existing mental health support, they should be encouraged to disclose the use of technology as a coping mechanism for self-harm behaviours – this should also be factored into any risk assessment and support plan.
Young people should be reminded about the confidential Childline website and the services they provide which are: internet chat, email, phone or message boards.