I’m worried about my child’s mental wellbeing

During recent times, the UK has experienced a significant increase in children and young people being referred to mental health services. Pressures from social media, peer groups and the legacy from the Covid-19 lockdowns and missed time at school, college or university, are all contributing to more children and young people feeling overwhelmed and anxious.

The good news is that there has never been more help available to support children and young people if you know where to look. The following is a list of just some organisations we would like to signpost you to, if you’re worried about the mental health and wellbeing of a young person.

PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide is the UK charity dedicated to the prevention of suicide and the promotion of positive mental health and emotional wellbeing in young people. Their suicide prevention helpline, HOPELINEUK, is staffed by trained suicide prevention advisers, who work with young people – and anybody concerned for a young person – to help keep them safe from suicide. HOPELINEUK is a free and confidential call, text and email service, which is available from 9am to midnight, every day of the year. Full details including all helpline contact numbers can be found on the PAPYRUS website here.

Stem 4 is a charity that promotes positive mental health in teenagers and those who support them including their families and carers, education professionals, as well as school nurses and GPs through the provision of mental health education, resilience strategies and early intervention.

This is primarily provided digitally through innovative education programme, pioneering mental health apps, clinically-informed website and mental health conferences that contribute to helping young people and those around them flourish.

Young Minds is one of the leading charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health. Click here to view a range of resources for school children, parents and schools.

Tellmi  is a safe, anonymous app where young people can talk about absolutely anything, from anxiety to autism, dating to depression, or self-harm to self-esteem, sharing experiences with a supportive community. Moderators check everything to keep a young person safe and their in-house counsellors are always on hand if extra support is required.

In 2022, the Evidence Based Practice Unit at University College London and the Anna Freud Center conducted an independent evaluation of the Tellmi app. The nine month study of 876 young people found statistically significant evidence that using the Tellmi app improved their mental health.

My Emotions Activity Book is a free resource designed to help children to talk about their feelings creatively. The author and illustrator of the book, Laura Helen Brown of LHB Illustrations, felt that there was a real need for children to be able to express their emotions in an engaging, open, and neutral way.

The book is designed to be universal and to be used within a school lesson, as part of a group of lessons or one-to-one. Approved by leading educational professionals and trialled successfully with Key Stage 2 children. The book can be used across the primary age range and used as a thoughtful, calming, and comfortable way to generate conversations with children about their feelings and wellbeing. To visit the My Emotions Activity website and to download a free copy of the book  click here


Online Harm, including the use of Smartphones

R;pple – launched by Alice Hendy, following the suicide of her brother Josh, this internet browser extension is a must have tool. By downloading the extension, if any member of your family, friends, colleagues enters potentially harmful search words into their browser, they are immediately presented with calming messages and a number of vital support resources. This resource is available for free to families and schools, with competitive pricing for businesses. 

Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) works to stop the repeated victimisation of people abused in childhood and make the internet a safer place, by identifying & removing global online child sexual abuse imagery.

‘Self generated’ (often under coercion) images are a growing concern, with children often choosing safe places to take and then share compromising images of themselves. Most don’t realise the consequences of their actions before it’s too late.

IWF have a number of Campaigns; ‘Think Before You Share‘  ‘Block and Report and Tell Someone Your Trust‘ and TALK, aimed at parents to help them talk to their child about online sexual abuse.

Smartphone use

Recently, online harm has featured prominently in the media and in October 2023, the Government published the “Online Safety Act“, which is to be monitored by the regulator Ofcom.  The Act was introduced following a huge amount of campaigning by parents who have lost children as a result of viewing harmful content online – parents such as Ian Russel, father of schoolgirl Molly Russell. Molly’s family and friends established The Molly Rose Foundation.

A question many parents are asking is, “Is my child safe using their own smartphone?”. This raises many other questions such as who is responsible for safeguarding young people and their use of smartphones; parents, schools, tech and social media companies, the government? All clearly have a role to play.

In February 2024, a movement began and the group ‘Smartphone Free Childhood’ was formed. Now boasting ten’s of thousands of members. The group is a parent-led movement on a mission to protect millions of children from the dangers of using smartphones too young. For more information click this link.

More useful support to safeguard young people:

 Stay Alive App by Grassroots is a pocket suicide prevention resource for the UK, packed full of useful information to help you stay safe. You can use it if you are having thoughts of suicide or if you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide.

Kooth is a great online community app and website for young people, providing free, safe and anonymous support. The site/app provides chat and messenger support, when you want to talk with a friendly person or if you’re looking for information and advice. Kooth includes stories and experiences, written by young people, including topics relating to anxiety, relationships and how to de-stress etc. There’s the ability for you to help others also, by sharing your experiences and by writing your own story or by getting involved with the discussion boards, all anonymously. You can set SMART goals and track your progress via the app and even journal how you’re feeling day by day. One of the most important features though, is the ability to use the chat and messenger service to speak to Kooth’s friendly online team about anything which might be bothering you.

Calm Harm (for teenagers) has been developed by Consultant Clinical Psychologist Dr Nihara Krause for the UK-based charity Stem4. Upon opening the app, you are greeted with the metaphor that considers the urge to self-harm as similar surfing a wave: ‘it builds…it peaks… but ultimately, it subsides.’ As such, you are invited to ride the wave, which takes you to a selection of six categories: Comfort, Distract, Express Yourself, Release, Random and Breathe. Once you’ve chosen a category, you are given a list of different DBT-based strategies (within the selected category) that you can choose to do.

Just ‘B’ (North Yorkshire) offers expert emotional wellbeing and bereavement support to children, young people and adults across the communities of North Yorkshire, as well as specialist support regionally and nationally.

Safe+Sound is an established training company offering accessible First Aid, Safety and Wellbeing training to individuals and organisations. Trainers are selected from the best in their chosen fields, including; paramedics, nurses and mental health professionals to firefighters, safety, food and social care specialists. To read a really helpful blog article for parents worried about their child self-harming, Click here.


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