If you're 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.
Online sources of support
Lots of general advice and support can be found online.
For more general advice, see our information on mental health and wellbeing, which includes advice about:
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.
- call the free parents' helpine on 0808 802 5544 from 9.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday
- email firstname.lastname@example.org and YoungMinds will respond to your query within 3 working days
The charity also has information for parents and carers about mental health.
MindEd for families
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.
Royal College of Psychiatrists
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.
When to seek professional help
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:
- 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
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.
How do I get help from specialist CYPMHS?
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.
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.