What to do if you are worried
There are lots of ways to look after your mental health and get support.
You can find out about the different places where you can find support here.
Young people told us about what they've found helpful in looking after their mental health and well-being – especially when they've been feeling worried or facing something difficult.
Here are some of their tips and suggestions...
What can help?
It can be helpful to talk about how you are feeling. This might be to your friends, your family or someone you know and trust – perhaps in school, college or your local sports club.
Actually starting to talk about feelings can feel awkward – so it can be helpful to find times to do something together. This may let the conversation to flow more easily.
Things to remember
Most young people, at some point, will have difficult times when life is stressful, but there are people who can help. You are not alone.
We all have things we are good at. Sometimes it just takes time to work out what these things are… but remembering your strengths is a good way of starting to feel more in control of your life.
Lots of young people experience mental health problems and disorders – but these are treatable and the earlier a person seeks help, the better the chance of preventing things from getting serious.
People working to support young people’s mental health are keen to understand what they are experiencing and to find the help and support that’s right for them but they can’t do this on their own: they need the young person to be engaged in the process.
If the help that is offered isn’t right, everyone has a right to ask what other things might be available. All services should have a complaints procedure if a person is really unhappy with what the service is offering and many offer advocacy support, that is people who can help the person understand what is being offered and who can negotiate and support the person receiving help.
How to help a friend
It’s important if you are concerned about a friend that you continue to talk to them. Include them as much as you can in the normal activities you usually do together.
Encourage them to talk. Talking does not make someone worse. Listen and be patient but don't expect them to open up straight away – this can take a long time.
Don't say that you understand or advise them to “snap out of it”, but make it clear that you care about them and that you want to help them.
Try not to get frustrated or to jump to conclusions about why someone may be behaving or feeling the way they do. This can be hard if your friend seems to be ‘stuck’ or lacking any interest or energy about their life.
If you are concerned that your friend is at risk, you should tell a trusted adult. If possible, try to agree with your friend who should be told – or at least try and talk through with them why you need to tell someone.
It’s crucial to keep an open mind, not to judge or criticise and to respect their views.
Try to encourage them to get help – and go with them to see someone if they would like this.
Resource: Information and activities to develop your ability to talk about how you are feeling or any worries you have, and how to identify who you want to talk to.
Need advice or support?
Find out where you can get advice and support if you are worried about your own mental health, or someone you know.