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Children and Young People Mental Health and Wellbeing

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Not only do mental health problems greatly impact the emotional and physical wellbeing of a child, but they can also affect the whole family – parents, siblings, grandparents – those who most want to help and actually may not know exactly how to.

It can be greatly upsetting and distressing to know your child may be showing signs of mental ill-health. Even when your child is slightly ‘out of sorts’, it can be hard to know when or whether to be worried, how to approach the situation, or where to turn for support.

There are lots of organisations that offer mental health help, both locally and nationally.

Help can come in many ways from one to one support with a counsellor, online forums and chat rooms to websites with useful tips on handling situations.

The most important things is that if you are worried about your child you seek advice and help early.

 

Types of Mental Health Issues

There are many types of mental health issues. Listed here are the most common ones. It is always best to start by talking to your GP as mental health is complex and your child's anxieties may be a combination of factors.

Depression

Anxiety

Fears and phobias

Panic Attacks

Obsessions and compulsions

Self Harm 

Eating Disorders

ADHD

Substance Abuse

Bullying

Cyber Bullying

Uncontrollable anger

Low self esteem

Signs to look for

Parents know their children best. They know if a child is behaving differently and that something is not quite right.

Some of the signs to look for in your child

becoming withdrawn

persistently sad or tearful

more irritated or angry than usual

changes in sleeping patterns - tired or won't sleep

changes in eating patterns - no appetite 

feeling lethargic or hopeless

Talking about Mental Health

Advice for parents and carers

NHS advice if you are concerned about your child's mental health

Starting a conversation with your child

Young Minds fun activity ideas, conversation starters and advice to make talking easier and help you and your child 

Advice for children and young people

NHS advice if things are getting too much

Talk to your child as much as possible.

If they don't want to talk to you as their parent, ask them if another family member, perhaps a Grandparent or Aunt or Uncle could chat with them about their feelings.

Don’t interrogate them.

Try to encourage your child to open up about what’s going on in their life and how they feel about it. Make sure this is a two-way conversation by opening up about the things you happen to be worrying about (but be careful not to make the whole conversation about you).

Reassurance is important.

Children should feel safe and happy with lots of confidence and energy. Knowing that they have love and support will help your child navigate through their negative feelings.

Encourage them.

Do positive activities, play sport, get some exercise, meet friends, join a club,focus on something they really enjoy doing. 

Act early.

If you feel something is not quite right, talk to your GP, your child's school,other family members who know your child well. Seeking support early on is important for both child and family. Keep calm and try to stay in control of the situation.

Be positive with your child.

Try not to make them feel they are "bad" or "not normal". Reassure them that it's okay to be not okay. 

Get help.

There are lots of online helplines and forums where you can get professional support and talk to other families going through similar situations. Knowing you are not alone is very important.

Helplines and Support

There are lots and lots of helplines and support groups for mental health and wellbeing. Some are specific to an issue, others give general advice and support to families.

NHS Every Mind Matters

NHS mental health advice and support 

Childline

Children can get support at any time by calling 0800 1111 or going online to chat to a trained counsellor.

KOOTH

mental wellbeing support

KRUNCH

support for young people in Sandwell

Black Country Emotional Support

NHS mental health support in Sandwell

BEAM Sandwell

emotional health and wellbeing support for young people in Sandwell

Health for Teens

information, advice and a confidential chat line for teenagers

NHS Mental Health Services

How to access NHS mental health services

Guidance for Parents and Carers

Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Self Harm

A guide for parents on signs of self harm and what to do

Eating Disorders

Help and support for families living with eating disorders

ThinkNinja

ThinkNinja is an app specifically designed to educate 10-18 year olds about mental health, emotional wellbeing and to provide skills young people can use to build resilience and stay well.

See, Hear, Respond Support Hub

Barnardo's emotional support hub with information and resources to support families 

MindEd Hub

free educational resources on children and young people's mental health 

Place2Be

supporting children's mental health

Voice Box

young people's stories, thoughts and feelings on mental health and wellbeing

7 ways to support children and young people who are worried

Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families free guide giving seven ways you can use CBT to help children and young people who may be experiencing anxiety.