Although there are changes happening in the way mental health is viewed and addressed and the stigma surrounding it, young people and their families are still struggling to get the vital help they need. Half of all adult psychiatric disorders start by age 14, but a massive treatment gap still exists.
It's been researched that the parents of adolescents are the most unsupported of all groups of parents, and those who have teenagers with mental health problems seem to be particularly isolated. Yet parents are likely to be a big part of the solution as far as successful outcomes for young people are concerned.
If you are worried about a child or need advice and support for coping with anything affecting your child's mental health or wellbeing, there are different ways to seek help - listed below.
Online sources of support:
The NHS offer a variety of ways to approach difficult conversations with your children or a young person and have combined knowledge throughout their mental health professionals. These below links will help guide and support your journey with your child or a young person who maybe struggling with their mental health.
YoungMinds offers free confidential online and telephone support to anyone worried about the emotional and mental wellbeing of a child or young person up to the age of 25.
The charity also has information for parents and carers about mental health.
MindEd is an online e-portal offering free, simple advice about children and young people's mental health for all adults.
Although MindEd is aimed at professionals, parents and carers may also find the information helpful.
You can also find out more by exploring the Royal College of Psychiatrists' leaflets for parents and young people.
These include mental health information tailored for young people, parents, teachers and carers.
There's a difference between feeling a bit low from time to time and a serious emotional health problem.
If your child is feeling unhappy and low for a prolonged period of time, or if you have any other serious concerns about your child or young person, it's time to seek more professional help.
Any professional working with children and young people should know what to do. You may find it helpful to speak to:
For example, if you approach a teacher about your concerns or to see if they’ve noticed anything, they might speak to different staff working in the school. For example, a school counsellor, a support worker or, in many areas, a mental health support team for schools and colleges.
If the problem is more complex, the professional you initially approached may suggest getting help from colleagues with more specialist training.
A GP might refer a parent of a child with behaviour problems to a local parenting programme, or a young person who's depressed might be referred to specialist children and young people's mental health services (CYPMHS).
You should contact your local support services immediately if you're aware of a child or young person at serious risk of harm.
Getting help from a specialist CYPMHS is different depending on where you live. Waiting times can vary too.
Most CYPMHS have their own website, which will have information about access, referrals and more, including phone numbers, so you can get in touch directly for detailed advice.
You can also look at your local clinical commissioning group (CCG) website and search for children and young people's mental health.
If you or your child is being supported by social services or the youth offending team, your key worker will be able to refer your child for an appointment with someone in specialist CYPMHS.
There are many services to go to for help without having to ask for a referral, including crisis helplines that anyone can call.
Look up local services that provide mental health support for young people, including phone numbers and website details.
Read about where to get urgent help for mental health.
Read about voluntary community-based Youth information services - which often have drop-in sessions for advice and professional help.
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