Supporting children’s and teenagers’ mental health: resource list
Children and young people’s mental health is hardly out of the news these days (see Crisis in children’s mental health). But often parents are at a loss how best to help and support a child/teenager who is struggling. So I have brought together all in one place this resource list of websites, apps, books and other sources of support for parents/carers of children and young people who are struggling with their mental health. I hope you find it useful.
As a starting point, take a look at my posts on Social media and self-esteem, Talking to children about mental health, Building children’s self-esteem and Communicating with teenagers for some helpful general advice.
You might find this video on Finger Breathing a useful tool for helping children and young people manage anxiety and overwhelm too.
Young Minds is a national charity supporting children and young people’s emotional and mental health. They provide information for young people and for parents, plus a telephone support line for parents.
NHS Every Mind Matters offers simple advice and signposting for family mental health issues.
On My Mind is a website aimed at empowering young people to make informed choices about their mental health. It includes a jargon buster, a guide to referrals and specialist services and a really useful directory of UK support services (which you can search by local area).
Nip in the Bud has some brilliant video resources to help parents spot the signs and symptoms of certain mental health disorders and where to go for help.
SelfHarmUK provides advice, information and online support specifically for young people who self harm
Factfindr is a website by young people, for young people, which includes some really useful peer-to-peer articles on a wide range of issues, including mental health.
Books, Guides & Apps
NHS mental health self-help guides can be downloaded at www.ntw.nhs.uk/selfhelp. These are primarily aimed at adults but provide clear and simple strategies that will be useful for parents supporting teenagers too.
MeeTwo is an app for teens which provides peer support and expert help and resources and which can be accessed anonymously.
BlueIce is an evidenced-based app to help young people manage their emotions and reduce urges to self-harm. It includes a mood diary, a toolbox of evidence-based techniques to reduce distress and automatic routing to emergency numbers if urges to harm continue.
Calm Harm is an app developed for teenagers who are self-harming, using the basic principles of an evidence-based therapy called Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)
You will also find a useful list of apps delivering mindfulness and/or CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) support in this review and on the Mind website here. Papyrus (Prevention of Young Suicide) also has a list here.
The Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families has a great list of self-care strategies for young people and you will also find lots of resilience boosting ideas (for the whole family) on the Action for Happiness website. And you might also want to check out these Books to help children with anxiety.
If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, talk to your GP. Your GP may make a referral for specialist support from CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) and should be able to signpost you to local sources of support.
Young Minds has a Crisis Messenger where young people experiencing a mental health crisis can get urgent 24hr support.
All children should know the contact details for Childline which offers free confidential 24-hour support for children and young people on any issue via phone, text or online chat.
If you are looking for services in your local area, your local authority or council website should be able to help, or search for services using your postcode in On My Mind.
If I have missed anything out that you really want to share with other parents, please do comment below.