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Children & young people

Emotional/Mental Health and Wellbeing

Emotional health is about the way we think and feel, and the ability to cope with difficult things in life. If something happens and we feel low emotionally, getting back on track can be difficult. 

Young people can experience a ton of different mental health problems. Childhood and teenage years are a time when you are usually changing rapidly and developing all the time.

You also often have to cope with many different situations and unfamiliar challenges like exams, relationships and the other pressures of growing up. 

While often it’s possible to talk to parents or carers about feelings, you may find it hard to do so. You might express how you feel through being moody, getting in trouble at school or at home or by becoming angry easily. Some people also get odd aches and pains that can happen when you’re not able to say what you’re feeling.

Occasionally, your feelings or mood may be so extreme or upsetting that you need urgent help. If you’re (or your friend is) self-harming, running away, or saying they no longer want to go on living then you/your friend may need immediate support. If this sort of feeling continues for some time it is a particular clue that you/your friend might need to look to get help to cope.

If you would like to talk to someone, Kooth is an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop. It gives children and young people easy access to an online community, and a team of experienced counsellors.

If you are feeling distressed, anxious or self-harming because there is trouble at home, (parents are hurting you, ignoring your needs, shouting at you all the time, etc.) or you feel trapped doing something sexual or criminal (exploitation).  Talking about these problems with someone is always better than hiding them and feeling awful. If you are not sure if your experience counts as ‘abuse’ or ‘exploitation’ try reading our page here on types of abuse, and this page on exploitation. 

If you want to talk to someone about what you may be feeling, you can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111.

Self-Harm
Self harm is where someone does something to deliberately harm themselves. Self harm may include cutting or burning yourself, biting your nails excessively, developing an eating disorder or taking an overdose of tablets. It can also include taking drugs or an excessive amount of alcohol.

There are many different reasons why young people self harm. It is usually as a way to help cope with difficult or distressing thoughts or feelings. They hurt themselves because don't know what else to do and don't feel like there are any other options.  Self-harm usually starts as a way to relieve the build-up of pressure from distressing thoughts and feelings. This might give temporary relief from the emotional pain the person is feeling. It’s important to know that this relief is only temporary because the underlying reasons still remain. Soon after, feelings of guilt and shame might follow, which can continue the cycle

Talking to someone is often the first step in the cycle of stopping self harm. There are lots of people you can talk to including friends, family, someone you trust at school, your GP, or a helpline. Add child line

Contact Details
If you are having issues with self harm, or are just generally worried about you or your friend’s mental health and would like to talk to please contact someone from one of the organisations below. Remember that if there’s a trusted adult you can talk to in person, you should always try to talk to them.

Kooth is an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop.

The Young Minds website provides help and support for children and young people on emotional health.

ChildLine also offers guidance on self-harm, and all sorts of other problems. If you want to talk to someone about what you may be feeling, you can contact ChildLine on 0800 1111.