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

Growing up is not easy, and sometimes it's hard to cope with whatever life throws at you.

Children and young people's mental health services (CYPMHS) are there to support you if you need it. For example, if you:

  • feel sad or like you do not want to be here any more
  • have problems with your family, friends or at school
  • hurt yourself or want to hurt yourself
  • feel anxious and scared
  • have problems with eating and food
  • have trouble talking or sleeping
  • hear voices or see things
  • 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

How to access 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.

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 are being supported by social services or the youth offending team, your key worker will be able to refer you 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.

More useful resources

Check out our mental health and wellbeing hub for information and support for problems like stress, anxiety, low mood or depression.

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

What can I expect from my CYPMHS appointment?

Knowing what to expect when you're going to CYPMHS will help you feel more in control of what's happening.

Rethink has a guide that offers tips about what to expect and ask during your first CYPMHS appointment and beyond.

CYPMHS are made up of teams of different professionals, such as psychologists, social workers, nurses and therapists.

You may be asked a lot of questions and team members might want to talk to your family.

This is because the team you see will want to listen to you get a good understanding of the problem in your own words.

Once they have a good sense of who you are and what you want, they'll suggest different things that can help and you'll decide what to do next together.

The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families website has information and a video about how young people receive support from mental health services.

Need support with medicine?

Try the HeadMeds medicines guide for young people, including information on possible side effects and young people's stories.

Want to speak to someone anonymously?

If you'd like to chat to someone anonymously, you could try calling a helpline or visiting websites such as ChildLine, The Mix or Kooth.

ChildLine

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

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

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