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Children and young people's mental health services (CYPMHS) - help for children and young people

Things can seem overwhelming at the moment. Growing up is not easy and it can be harder to cope because of the pandemic.

It's okay to not feel okay, but there is hope and the NHS is here for you too. Help is available if you need it, including urgent 24/7 support and mental health services.

This can be a difficult time. For example, you may:

  • feel sad or hopeless; like you do not want to be here any more
  • have problems with your family, friends or at school
  • hurt yourself or have thoughts about hurting yourself
  • feel anxious and scared
  • have problems with eating and food
  • have trouble talking or sleeping
  • hear voices or see things that worry you
  • feel angry or are struggling to control your behaviour or temper
  • find it hard to concentrate or get on with friends
  • have to check or repeat things, or worry about germs
  • do not like yourself or have low self-confidence

You can read blogs from Professor Prathiba Chitsabesan, National Clinical Director for Children and Young People’s Mental Health about:

You can also find helpful tips and videos on the Every Mind Matters website.

Remember, you are not alone. You can talk to a parent, teacher or your GP about your mental health.

Where to get urgent help

If you or a loved one are struggling and facing a mental health crisis, you can call your local NHS urgent mental health helpline any time of day or night.

If someone's life is in danger now, call 999 or go to A&E.

Further support for children and young people

Every Mind Matters

Every Mind Matters provides support, including tips on how to improve your mental wellbeing.


YoungMinds has a wealth of resources on their website, as well as providing dedicated crisis services.

The YoungMinds Crisis Messenger provides free crisis support every day of the week, at any time day or night. You just need 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. You can:

  • call their helpline, HOPELineUK, on 0800 068 41 41
  • text them on 07786 209 687


Samaritans are an organisation you can ring at any time of the day or night. They'll help you and listen to how you’re feeling. You can:


SHOUT provides free, confidential, 24/7 text message support in the UK for anyone who is struggling to cope and anyone in crisis. You can:

  • text SHOUT to 85258

This service is free on all major mobile networks.


ChildLine provides a confidential telephone counselling service for any child with a problem. It comforts, advises and protects. You can:

The Mix

The Mix provides a free confidential telephone helpline and online service that aims to find young people the best help, whatever the problem. You can:


Kooth is a free, safe and anonymous online mental wellbeing community, accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

It includes:

  • a magazine
  • discussion boards
  • messages or live chat with their team
  • a daily journal you can fill in


The charity Beat provide information to help young people who may be struggling with an eating problem, including an eating disorder.

They also provide advice, links to local support and one-to-one webchats.

You can call their dedicated helplines:

  • Youthline on 0808 801 0711 (for anyone under 18)
  • Studentline on 0808 801 0811 (for students)

You can also email them at:

Beat are open 365 days a year. You can contact them on weekdays from 9am to 8pm and weekends from 4pm to 8pm.


The Royal College of Psychiatrists also has information for young people, parents and carers about young people's mental health.

How to access specialist Children and Young People's Mental Health Services (CYPMHS)

Getting help from a specialist CYPMHS is different depending on where you live and waiting times can vary too.

Most CYPMHS have their own website, with information about access, referrals, helpful resources and more. This includes phone numbers, so you can get in touch directly for detailed advice.

You can also look at your local integrated care board (ICB) website and search for children and young people's mental health.

You may also find it helpful to speak to:

  • your GP
  • someone you trust at school or college – for example, a teacher, pastoral lead, school nurse or special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO)
  • health visitors
  • children's centres

If you already have support from social care or youth services they should be able to refer you for an appointment with someone in specialist CYPMHS.

There are many other services to go to for help without having to ask for a referral, including crisis helplines that anyone can call.

Read more about where to get urgent help for mental health.

Page last reviewed: 11 April 2019
Next review due: 11 April 2022