Mental health, mental illness and emotional distress are all words used to describe someone who is experiencing mental health difficulties. Mental health, like physical health, can involve a wide range of difficulties and complaints, from relatively mild conditions to more severe illnesses.

Good mental health and emotional well-being helps young people to develop into healthy and happy adults. Children and young people are often vulnerable to poor mental health and as many as 1 in 10 children aged 5-16 may be affected by a mental health problem at any one time.

Self-harm affects as many as 1 in 15 young people aged 11-25.

The mental health of children and young people can be affected by many factors, and increases vulnerable situations, including families where neither parent is working, families on low income, and single-parent families.

The Young Minds website offers information about mental health for young people. The site also offers help and advice to professionals and parents and operates a free Parents Helpline to support anyone who's worried about the emotional problems or behaviour of a child or young person. Call 0808 802 5544 between 9.30am–4pm Monday-Friday, free for landlines and mobiles.

The Samaritans provide confidential emotional support, 24 hours a day for people who are experiencing feelings of distress or despair. If you're worried about something, feel upset or confused, or you just want to talk to someone call Telephone 116 123 or visit the Samaritans website.

PAPYRUS is a voluntary organisation committed to the prevention of young suicide and the promotion of mental health and emotional wellbeing. If you are a young person worried about yourself or if you're concerned about someone you know, call the national confidential helpline HOPElineUK on Freephone 0800 068 4141, 10am-10pm Monday-Friday, 2pm-10pm Saturday-Sunday  and 2pm-10pm on Bank Holidays. or visit the PAPYRUS website.


Rethink campaigns to help everyone affected by severe mental illness recover a be
tter quality of life. The Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service offers practical help on issues such as the Mental Health Act, community care, welfare benefits, debt, criminal justice and carers rights as well as general advice on living with mental illness, medication, care and treatment. Call 0300 5000 927 between 9.30am-4pm Monday-Friday. The Rethink website has lots of resources to help people living with mental illness, including schizophrenia.

Mind is a mental health charity working to create a better life for everyone with experience of mental distress. The Mind website has a number of useful resources for young people. Call the MindinfoLine on Telephone 0300 123 3393 or text 86463.

Winston's Wish helps bereaved children and young people rebuild their lives after a family death. Help 2 Make Sense is an on-line tool from Winston’s Wish that aims to help young people who have experienced the death of a loved one come to terms with their loss. For more information, call the National Helpline on Freephone 08088 020 021.

The Counselling Directory website has a page on self-care which includes helpful advice and resources to help everyone maintain and improve overall their own well-being.