Mental Health – Advice for parents and carers
As a parent or carer you may have concerns regarding your child’s mental health. Mental health issues can affect people of any age including children and young people. Concerns can emerge in different forms including eating disorders, obsessive behaviours, self-harming and suicidal ideation.
While it can feel difficult to find help and support there is a lot of information available for parents and carers as well as for children and young people to access.
Self-harm can take lots of physical forms, including cutting, burning, bruising, scratching, hair-pulling, poisoning and overdosing.
There are many reasons why children and young people try to hurt themselves. And once they start, it can become a compulsion. When a person self-harms, chemicals are released into the brain which can become addictive very quickly.
Self-harm is often used as a coping mechanism. The physical pain of self-harm might feel easier to deal with than the emotional pain that’s behind it.
In North Yorkshire, the Self-Harm and Suicidal Ideation pathway has information for children and young people as well as advice and guidance for parents and carers to help them find support if they are concerned about the risk of self-harming or suicide.
Guidance for parents and carers is available from:
Guidance for children and young people is available from:
Sometimes things can feel overwhelming and children and young people may feel they can’t cope. With children and young people returning to schools and college, some are finding the return difficult to cope with, especially with the additional requirements placed upon them and the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
It is important to understand that increased stress and anxiety can be a perfectly normal response to the current situation, and signposting to help for those who are struggling.
There are a number of places where children, young people, parents and carers can go for help:
The NHS blog provides lots of helpful guidance for children and young people to help them come to terms with how they are feeling, who they can ask for help, where to get help and other types of support.
For more information visit:
As well as providing information for children and young people, the NHS blog provides information for parents, guardians and carers.
The blog provides information on what you should do if you are worried about a child or young person’s mental health or you think things are getting serious, advice on what to do to if you are worried now and where you can go for support.
For more information visit:
One of the many ways in which mental health concerns may arise is through eating disorders. Children and young people’s attitudes to eating are affected by a range of things and their appetite may change at different ages. Young people problems with food may develop as a coping strategy or way of feeling in control but may lead to unhealthy patters of eating or other harmful behaviours.
The NHS provide information on how to identify the signs and symptoms of eating disorders, what you should do if you have a concern and where you can go for support.
For more information visit:
Coming out of lockdown can be difficult for anyone. As the world opens up again many children and young people may feel additional pressure and anxiety.
The NHS have developed 10 tips to prioritise mental health and wellbeing which is available from:
Help for children and young people can come from several sources, including family, friends, schools and colleges, and the voluntary sector. Charities provide vital and varied interventions via their frontline services, networks, helplines and campaigns. For those who need specialist support, the NHS is here to help. Some resources for CYP, families and carers are detailed below:
- Local NHS 24/7 urgent mental health lines (which can be found on nhs.uk/urgentmentalhealth).
- Public Health England’s Better Health Every Mind Matters campaign which provides helpful tips for young people, parents and carers. There are designated pages to help parents and carers spot the signs that children may be struggling with their mental health and also provides advice that can help maintain good mental wellbeing.
- YoungMinds Parents Helpline is available for parents, guardians and carers and you can call them on 0808 802 5544; 9.30am to 4pm on weekdays.
- Young Minds Crisis Messenger provides free crisis support during a crisis – this is available every day of the week, at any time day or night. All that is required is to text YM to 85258. All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors. Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
- Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide) provides advice and support for young people who feel like they want to take their own life, and all their advice is confidential. Their helpline – HOPELineUK – can be reached on 0800 068 41 41 or one can text them on 07786 209 687 (lines are open every day from 9am to midnight).
- Childline offer support to CYP under 19, and they confidentially call, email, or chat online about any problem, big or small. Their freephone 24-hour helpline is 0800 1111. You can sign up for a Childline account on their website and you will then be able to message a counsellor anytime without using an email address. Or you can have a one-to-one chat with an online advisor.
- SHOUT provides free, confidential, 24/7 text message support in the UK for anyone who is struggling to cope and anyone in crisis. Text SHOUT to 85258. This service is free on all major mobile networks.
- Samaritans are an organisation who are available at any time of the day or night. They will help the CYP and listen to how they are feeling. They can be reached on 116 123 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.