Are mental health problems common in children and young people?
Yes. In 2017, 12.8% of 5 to 19 year olds in England had been diagnosed with at least one mental health disorder. There’s a range of support available, some of which is listed below.
Why do children and young people experience mental health problems?
There are many factors that can contribute to a period of poor mental health. Some mental health conditions can run in families. Difficult experiences a child or young person goes through can also have a negative impact on mental health. Sometimes it’s caused by a mixture of these things.
Factors that can contribute to poor mental health include:
- Experience of abuse, trauma or neglect
- Experience of discrimination or bullying
- Longterm stress, perhaps around exams
- Family history of mental health problems
For parents or guardians looking to support a child
There are a number of ways to support a child.
The charity YoungMinds’ runs a free parent hotline where you can get advice on how best to support your child - 0808 802 5544
If you are worried about your child’s mental health you can take them to see your GP. The GP may then refer them to your local Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). You can find more information on CAMHS here.
Support without a referral
Going to the doctor is not the only way to get help. Mind has a lot of information on mental health problems, how to help, and a directory of local services.
Support and advice for you
Looking after a child or young person with mental health problems can be challenging. YoungMinds have a website and free helpline 0808 802 5544 that can offer parents advice:
0808 802 5544
The Royal College of Psychiatrists also have some useful information online, broken down for both parents and young people.
I am a child or young person seeking help
If you’re having a bad time with your mental health it is useful to talk to someone you know and trust, so they can help you. This could be a family member such as a parent or carer, a teacher or your doctor (GP).
You may then be referred to a service called CAMHS (Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service). CAMHS have psychiatrists, nurses, therapists and social workers who may be able to help you.
What other support is available?
There are loads of other ways to get help.
Childline have information on their website and offer 1-2-1 web chats with counsellors. You can also call them for free on 0800 1111 to speak to someone about how you’re feeling.
YoungMinds has loads of useful information on their website. If you need urgent help with your mental health, you can text ‘YM’ to 85258. This service is available 24/7.
text ‘YM’ to 85258
The Royal College of Psychiatry website has lots of useful information for young people. They also have a information designed for parents.
On My Mind has information on receiving support, your rights, and methods such as self-care that may help you with your mental health.
The Well Centre is in Streatham and lets you book an appointment or drop in to see a youth worker, counsellor or doctor in a safe, confidential environment. You can bring a friend with you when you visit, if that makes you feel more comfortable.
The Well Centre, 16 Wellfield Road, Streatham, London, SW16 2BP
020 8473 1581
Kooth provides free, anonymous online counselling and support. It has a daily journal, allowing you to track your mood.
Oasis is an NHS service based in South London to help you if you’re experiencing unusual things such as hearing voices or feeling paranoid. You can refer yourself for their services without having to see a doctor first.