Choose well for your mental health and wellbeing – children and young people (text only)

What’s on your mind?

Information and support for children and young people

Mental health is all the things which go on within your mind such as your thoughts and feelings. Everybody has mental health.

You can have both good and bad mental health which can change day to day and at different times in your life. Sometimes though, you might decide that you need some help.

This guide has been created to help you to know where you can go and who you can speak to.

Parents, carers, families and friends can also use this guide to look out for children and young people close to them and help them get the right support and advice.

  • Self-care – things you can do to help look after your own mental health, emotions and wellbeing
  • Talk to someone – there’s lots of people who you can talk to
  • Family help and support – information and help for all the family
  • Doctor or nurse – your GP practice can put you in touch with mental health services or talk to you about medication
  • Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) – CAMHS help with specialist mental health concerns
  • Crisis or emergencies – it’s important you know what to do in an emergency or crisis situation.


How I might be feeling…

  • Not sleeping well
  • Anxious or worried
  • Feeling down or sad
  • Stressed
  • Unmotivated or like you don’t enjoy or want to do the things that you normally like to do
  • Shy or low in confidence
  • Lonely or like you want to make new friends
  • Angry or tense
  • Like you’ve noticed changes in how much you’re eating e.g. eating more or less

What can I do?

Discover the five steps to mental wellbeing:

  1. Connect with other people
  2. Be physically active
  3. Learn new skills
  4. Give to others
  5. Pay attention to the present moment (mindfulness)

Meet new people and try new things

There’s lots of clubs and activities in your community:

Download a new app

Below is a list of some NHS-approved apps:

  • Catch It – learn how to manage feelings like anxiety, depression or anger
  • Chill Panda – learn how to manage stress, and to worry less and feel better
  • Clear Fear – help for managing anxiety and fears
  • Cove – a music mood journal
  • eQuoo – an adventure game focusing on emotional fitness
  • MeeTwo – a safe place to chat to other teenagers about any issues
  • Pzizz – helps you to fall asleep fast, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed
  • Stress & Anxiety Companion – helping you manage stress and anxiety on-the-go
  • The Worrinots – share and get help with worries, fears and anxieties
  • ThinkNinja – learn about mental health and emotional wellbeing and develop skills to build resilience
  • Thrive – use games to track your mood and learn to take control of stress and anxiety

Teen Sleep Hub is a one stop shop for all you need to know about sleep:

There’s even a section for parents and carers!

Young Minds have lots of advice and useful tips on how you can look after your mind: has advice and support for teenagers and students, alongside parents and carers:

Did you know?

Wakefield Discovery College offers courses and workshops to support the mental health and wellbeing of local young people:

Our child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) teams have also created lots of resources including workbooks and podcasts for children, young people, parents and carers. Visit our website and give them a try:

There’s an app for young carers which is free to download on both Android and IOS. Search ‘Young carers support app’ on your Play or Google store to download.

Talk to someone

How I might be feeling?

  • Low in mood, sad, tearful and really down
  • Anxious and worrying a lot. This could include:
  • Having panic attacks
  • Dealing with something that scares you like a phobia
  • Being very anxious to go out with your friends or family, or feeling like you don’t fit in or want to talk and socialise with others
  • Dealing with something traumatic or upsetting that has happened to you, even if it happened years ago
  • Really stressed and like you can’t relax
  • Finding it difficult to manage your feelings, such as anger
  • Problems with sleeping such as sleepless nights, waking in the night or waking up early
  • Difficulties with relationships with friends or family
  • Dealing with the death of someone or something close to you
  • Using drugs or alcohol to try and cope with your emotions
  • Like you’ve noticed changes in how much you’re eating e.g., eating more or less.

What can I do?

Kooth is a free, anonymous online counselling and support service for young people aged up to 25 in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield:

Talk to someone at your school or college. This could be a teacher, counsellor, nurse or any member of staff. School and college staff have links to mental health and wellbeing services, you may even have a counselling service within your school or college too.

Talking therapies, provide counselling, therapies, online support and workshops. You have to be registered with a GP to use talking therapies. Contact your nearest talking therapies on:

There’s also people you can talk to in your community:

  • Barnsley: The Open Up Barnsley directory and interactive map lists wellbeing and youthwork organisations for young people: visit their website
  • Calderdale: Open Minds has information on groups and organisations who are here to help and listen: visit their website
  • Kirklees: Thriving Kirklees ChatHealth is a text messaging service for young people aged 11–19 years old. Text 07520 618866 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm). There’s also support for parents and carers who can contact Thriving Kirklees nurses by text on 07520 618867
  • Wakefield: WF-I-CAN shares information and advice as well as self-help tips that can increase your confidence and resilience. The website has a ‘drop in and chat’ message service where you can speak to someone at set times. Visit:

Night OWLS is a confidential support line for children, young people, their parents and carers, who live in West Yorkshire. They are here to listen from 8pm–8am every day:

  • Call them for free on 0800 148 8244
  • Text them on 079843 76950
  • Or talk to them online at

There’s also more people you can speak to about your worries…

Did you know?

Young Minds have a helpline for parents and carers. Call for free on 0808 802 5544 (9:30am – 4pm, Monday to Friday). They also provide a webchat and email service too. Find out more on their website.

Help and support for the family

What can I do?

Sometimes wider family difficulties can affect our mental health, emotions and wellbeing.

Support is there for parents, carers and families on a range of matters including early help, health visiting and school nursing, or for children or families with additional needs.

  • Barnsley Family Information Service: visit their website, Twitter – @barnsleyfis and telephone – 0800 0345 340
  • Thriving Kirklees: visit their website, Twitter – @ThrivingKirklees and telephone – 0300 304 5555

GP practice

How I might be feeling…

  • Feeling really down and depressed every day for a long time
  • Like you’re anxious and worried every day and this is affecting your life
  • That you have unwanted thoughts, feelings, and fears that stay in your mind. Sometimes you may even have to do things such as counting, checking on things, saying words repeatedly, or following a strict routine to help ease these
  • Hurting yourself on purpose (self-harming), or having thoughts of hurting or injuring yourself
  • Losing your appetite or wanting to eat more than usual, or exercising more than usual
  • That you’ve tried other support which hasn’t helped.

What can I do?

Book an appointment with your GP practice – you could be seen by a doctor or nurse.

Support from your doctor or nurse might be all the help you need. But if not, they can put you in touch with, or make a referral to, other services who can help.

They can also talk to you about prescribing medication that may help you too.

Did you know?

If you’re worried about speaking to your doctor or nurse about problems with food or eating, BEAT has created a guide that can help you prepare: You can also call their Youthline for more support on 0808 801 0711.

Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)

How I might be feeling…

  • Sad, depressed, teary or down every day for a long time
  • Having unwanted and repetitive thoughts and fears or actions and behaviours
  • Hearing voices or seeing, feeling, tasting or smelling things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
  • Unable to manage your worries and anxieties
  • Hurting yourself on purpose (self-harming), or having thoughts of hurting or injuring yourself
  • Suicidal thoughts – these can come and go
  • Eating or problems with food and exercise
  • Unable to cope after a scary or traumatic event or experience
  • Extreme changes in mood, including having extreme highs and lows
  • Doing risky, impulsive or violent things
  • Like you have behaviours or additional needs such as having difficulties with:
    • Reading or writing
    • Making or keeping friendships and relationships
    • Your memory
    • Concentrating and being hyperactive
    • Talking or communicating or understanding other people.

What can I do?

CAMHS are an NHS service that offers help and treatment for children and young people, aged up to 18 years old, who have difficulties with their mental health and wellbeing. They also support parents, carers and families of these children and young people too.

To get support from CAMHS you need to be registered with a GP practice. You can contact your local CAMHS team on:

  • Branching Minds Barnsley: Parents, carers, young people and professionals can contact the team directly on 01226 107377.
  • Open Minds Calderdale: Contact the team on 01422 300 001.
  • Thriving Kirklees: Contact the team on 0300 304 5555 or through
  • Wakefield: Parents, carers, young people and professionals can contact the team directly on 01977 735865.

Crisis or emergency situations

How you might be feeling…

  • Like you are going to seriously harm or injure yourself or other people
  • Like you want to die or are suicidal
  • Like you are extremely distressed or upset and are seeing extreme changes in your behaviour
  • Seriously harmed, hurt or injured yourself

What can I do?

If you or someone else is seriously harmed or injured, always call 999 or go to your nearest A&E.

If you already get help for your mental health from a health or care organisation, please contact the team or professional that helps you. You may have a care or safety plan already which will tell you who to speak to in a crisis.

You can also get support in a mental health crisis by:

  • Booking an emergency appointment with your doctor. You can phone your doctor outside of normal working hours, but you will usually be sent to an out-of-hours service for help
  • Contacting Night OWLS; available 8pm–8am every day for children, young people, parents and carers across West Yorkshire. Call free on 0800 148 8244, text 07984 392700 or chat online at
  • Calling NHS 111, a 24-hour helpline.

If you don’t currently use mental health services, you can contact our Single Point of Access (SPA) teams:

  • Barnsley: 01226 644829
  • Calderdale: 01422 300001
  • Kirklees: 0300 304 5555
  • Wakefield: 01977 735865

Our SPA services are not open 24-hours a day. If you call them outside of their working hours you will be signposted elsewhere for help.

Did you know?

Charities can help people in a mental health crisis too. This includes parents and carers who are worried about a child or young person:

  • Childline: Free, confidential support, available any time. Call 0800 1111
  • Papyrus: Contact the HOPELINEUK, 9am to midnight every day on 0800 068 4141. Text 07860039967 or email
  • Samaritans: Free to call, 24/7, 365 days a year. Call them on 116 123
  • Shout: Text SHOUT to 85258 for free, confidential, 24/7 support
  • The Mix: Text THEMIX to 85258 for free, 24/7 crisis support
  • YoungMinds: Text YM to 85258 for free 24/7 support if you need urgent help.

It’s helpful to plan ahead so that you know what you can do in a mental health crisis. This will help make sure you get the best help as quickly as possible.

Please take the time to read this guide and write down who you can contact in a mental health crisis, alongside how other people can help you during this time.

  • Three numbers I can call:

For example: my support worker, a loved one or a helpline

  • How can other people help me?

For example: call one of my contact numbers for me or give me a quiet space.

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