Skip main navigation

Support for mental and physical health needs

Support for mental and physical health of children and young people.
© Public Health England

Mental Health

If you are concerned about the mental health of a child or young person you are supporting, there is information for parents and carers and information about NHS children and young people’s mental health services (CYPMHS) on the NHS website. Other good sources of information include your local Clinical Commissioning Group website, and most services also have their own website with information about access, referrals (including whether people can “self-refer”) and contact details – try searching in your area for “CYPMHS” or “CAMHS” (children and adolescent mental health services, an older term used for some CYPMHS).

You can also suggest that the parent or young person (if able to do so) call:

• Their GP or NHS 111 as appropriate

• If the young person, their parent / carer considers that this is a mental health crisis they (or you) can phone the local urgent mental health helpline; in England (only) this number can be found here. If the parent or carer is not present, any professional that works with children and young people should be able to help get the correct support for the child if you are unable to do so. With their permission, you could talk to their teacher, school nurse, student support team at college, social worker or GP

• Any child or young person can reach out to Childline on 08001111, the number will not appear on their phone bill. They could also text Shout to 85258 to speak to an empathetic, trained volunteer who will actively listen.

Papyrus’s HopelineUK offers support to young people if they are feeling suicidal, calls can be made from 9am to 10pm weekdays and 2pm to 10pm on weekends: 0800 068 41 41. However if a child or young person discloses such feeling to you it is important to make sure they also get professional help – for example through the local urgent mental health helpline (above).

Physical Health

If you think that a child or young person needs support for a physical health problem, depending on the urgency and circumstances

• If there is a medical emergency – someone is seriously injured and their life is at risk, call the emergency services on 999. If you are not sure contact 111 for advice.

• If you think the child or young person needs urgent, non-emergency medical advice, but they are not at risk of death or serious illness, use the NHS 111 non-emergency advice online. Only call 111 if you cannot get help online. People with hearing problems can use the NHS 111 British Sign Language (BSL) service.

• If this is not an urgent situation, advise them or their parent/carer to contact the relevant NHS service.

Further information

This NHS page has more information on common questions about child health problems. If you think a toddler or baby is very unwell, see this NHS page on the Signs of serious illness in babies and toddlers. For more information about common physical health problems that might stop a child from going to school or college (such as a stomach bug, head lice etc), this NHS page has information on who you should contact and further links to information.

© Public Health England
This article is from the free online

Psychological First Aid: Supporting Children and Young People

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now