Children's mental health
In crisis or emergency
If you have urgent concerns about a mental health problem and need immediate help, call 111 and select the 'mental health' option – this is how to access the NHS urgent mental health triage helpline 24/7 for all ages. You can also go to 111.nhs.uk
In a life-threatening emergency call 999 or visit A&E.
If you think your child is depressed, talk to him/her and find out if there is any way you can help. Be patient and understanding - what may seem like small problems to you can be too much for a young person.
Talk to your doctor and discuss what treatment (such as counselling) may be helpful. You could speak to your child’s school to see if they have noticed any differences in your son or daughter.
What to say SHOW
Listen to and talk to your son/daughter. Help and encourage them to get their lives together. Depression can’t just be switched off, it takes time and understanding to overcome it. Try to get them to contact useful organisations they can talk to in private.
Visit our mental health support page for services and resources.
Listen to and talk to your teenager. Help and encourage them to get their lives together. Depression can’t just be switched off. Tt takes time and understanding to overcome it. Try to get them to contact useful organisations they can talk to in private.
A supportive and understanding family means your child may feel more able to talk to you about any problems, rather than bottling them up. Chat about their interests, hobbies, friends and schoolwork so they feel you understand the different parts of their lives.
Dealing with the uncertainties in life SHOW
The teenage years are a difficult time and young people have a lot to deal with physically, mentally and emotionally. While every young person feels highs and lows, for some, about four or five in every hundred - this turns into depression.
Young people are more vulnerable and sensitive to what is happening to them and are less experienced at being able to deal with problems and anxieties.
Depression can be started by a number of things, such as:
- Parents divorcing or separating
- Feeling ignored and unloved
- Not being listened to
- Losing friends
- Changing school or moving home
- Worries about their looks, sexuality, health, exams or abuse
What may seem like small problems or worries to an older person can seem like a much bigger problem to a young person.
Boys are more likely to get depressed than girls and suffer from serious mental ill health.
What are the signs? SHOW
While young people can sometimes seem unhappy and quiet, you may feel that this is more than just a phase. Signs may include:
- Being unable to sleep
- Eating too much or too little
- Mood swings
- Staying in their bedroom all day
- Giving up interests and hobbies
- Avoiding friends and family
- Finding it hard to do their schoolwork
- Not caring what they look like
- Talking about death or having suicidal thoughts
To escape from their feelings or let them out in the only way they know how young people may start taking drugs or drinking, not going to school, becoming violent or carrying out crimes such as shoplifting.
How to help SHOW
If your teenager is suffering from depression they need help. Don’t ignore their worries and take any talk of suicide seriously. You need to listen, try to understand what they are going through and get professional help if you need to.
Get them to talk about their worries. If they don't feel they can talk to you, there are a number of help lines they can contact. If you are concerned, help them to see their doctor or school nurse. They may want you to come with them or may like to go alone (remember they will still need your support). The doctor can discuss ways to help, often a referral to a trained therapist or counsellor.
Helpful services SHOW
Kooth.com provides a confidential online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service for young people aged 11-25 years from a professional team of qualified counsellors including the evenings and weekends.
No Limits offers free and confidential information, advice, counselling, advocacy and support to children and young people under the age of 26 in Southampton and Hampshire. Young people can come to No Limits for free support on a wide range of issues including housing, homelessness, debt, employment, relationships, sexual health, mental health and substance misuse.
Youth Options offers individual and group support. They will support young people to explore the problems they are facing.
Yellow Door offers a wide range of specialist support for young people who have been affected by domestic abuse, sexual violence/abuse or other forms of interpersonal harm.
Saints Foundation youth engagement programme is aimed at young people who are between 8-18 years old. The programme offers the opportunity to play sport whilst socialising with friends.
Re:minds is a parent-led organisation who support parents and carers whose children have Autism, ADHD and/or mental health issues. They provide a range of groups, provide advice and have a book and sensory lending library.
SO:Linked allows you to search for services/groups within the city to support your mental health and emotional wellbeing either directly or through fun activities.
Family Lives (Parentline Plus)
Family Lives (Parentline Plus) is a 24/7 helpline for family issues.
SANE is a mental health charity aiming to raise awareness and provide emotional support.
Solent Mind is a charity supporting people with mental health issues in the South of England.
Young Minds offers a website with advice and support about mental health issues.
ChildLine provides a 24/7 helpline for young people, which you can call on 0800 1111.
Please visit our mental health support page for more information and resources.