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Health and Wellbeing

What do we mean by mental health?

Mental health is sometimes called emotional health or wellbeing. Everyone has mental health. It’s what affects how we think, feel and behave, and determines how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.

Our mental health can change over time. Sometimes we can get mentally ill, the same as we can get physically ill. But the same as when we get physically ill, there is always someone to help you.

Mental health problems are when difficulties get in the way of how we think and feel. This can mean that we find it hard to cope with family life, relationships, school or the wider world.

What can I do?

There are things you can do to help you with your mental health:

  1. Firstly speaking to a trusted person about how you are feeling; this could be family, friends, doctor, school nurse or counsellor.
    Get some regular exercise – there is a proven link between exercise and better mental health.
    Do things you enjoy whether it is skateboarding, hanging out with friends or reading.
    Try to eat regularly even if it is small but often, and try to make health choices.

Where can I get help & advice?

If you are worried about yours or someone else’s mental health, speak to an adult that you trust, this could be family, doctor, school nurse, teacher or counsellor. They will be able to support you.

CAMHS have a good advice page to help you with some of the things that you might be experiencing, or some of the difficulties that you might be having, and some top tips on how to manage them. This can be found on the CAMHS website.

There are some other organisations that can help:


What is Self-harm?

Self-harm is when you choose to cause pain on yourself in some way. Problems can build up to a point where you feel that you are struggling to cope. Young people often self-harm as a form of release and begin to use it as a coping mechanism to deal with their worries.

There are lots of different ways of self-harming. They can include cutting, scratching, burning, pinching, biting, and pulling out your hair.
Self-harm can also be overdosing, abusing alcohol & drugs, not eating and making yourself sick.

When does it happen?

You may self-harm because you feel anxious, depressed or stressed and feel you can’t turn to anyone for support or help. There are lots of other reasons young people self-harm, these are sometimes called ‘triggers’.

Triggers can include bullying, parents separating, not able to cope at school, falling out with friends, feeling lonely, the death of a loved one, lack of confidence and suffering abuse.

What can I do?

When you feel anxious or upset, doing something you enjoy or trying to think about other things can be a way to help you stop hurting yourself. If you can hang on in there, and resist the urge to self-harm for just 30 seconds to begin with, you can start to break the habit.

Where can I get help & advice?

Speaking to a trusted adult about how you are feeling; this could be family, doctor, school nurse, teacher or counsellor. They will be able to support you with speaking to a specialist about self- harming.

  • CAMHS have a really good advice page that offers help and advice on self harm or you can call them on 01865 901951.
  • Visit Childline or call 0800 1111 or talk to a counsellor.
  • SelfharmUK
  • Kooth is a free, safe and anonymous online service for young people’s mental health and wellbeing. On Kooth, you can access a magazine, discussion boards and your own private daily journal. You can also chat to counsellors one-to-one anonymously.
  • Young Minds. To speak to someone urgently via YoungMinds Crisis Messenger, text YM to 85258.

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating Disorders are worries about weight and shape that effect your eating, they are common among young people. Being overweight can cause problems with self-confidence and health, however lots of young people who are of normal weight are unhappy with their body shape and wish to be thinner.

Young people often try to lose weight by dieting, believing that weight loss will make them feel happier. Young people who diet are at risk of developing an eating disorder, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

In anorexia (anorexia nervosa) there is extreme weight loss, a preoccupation with weight and shape and fear of weight gain and eating. Losing weight rapidly can be as worrying as being underweight and is also treated very seriously.

In bulimia ( bulimia nervosa) there is a pattern of repeated binge eating (eating more than you would like to eat, feeling out of control and finding it difficult to stop) along with repeated compensatory behaviours such as vomiting or laxative abuse and an over concern about shape and weight.

Where can I get help & advice?

You can talk to your parent or carer, your teacher, or someone who works at your school, or outside of school activities/clubs who you trust.

CAMHS have a dedicated website for eating disorders. Here you will find lots of information and advice.

Alcohol and drugs affects some children, young people and their families. This might be because a parent or carer regularly drinks alcohol or takes drugs, or because a child or young person does.

In the UK, it is legal for people to drink alcohol when they are 18. Although alcohol is legal, it can have a negative effect on people’s health and it is important that children, young people and adults understand this.

In the UK, there are a group of drugs that are illegal and if someone is found with these drugs or selling these drugs, they might be arrested by the police and fined, or sent to prison. Sometimes people take illegal drugs because of how they make them feel, sometimes people are pressured by friends to take illegal drugs. Drugs are addictive so it doesn’t take much to make you want more and more.

Where can I get help & advice?

If you are worried about yourself or someone you know, you can speak to an adult that you trust.

If you would like to learn more about the effect of alcohol and different types of drugs, you can visit these websites:

If you are worried about yourself or someone you know there are some organisations called Childline that can help.

“You can contact Childline about anything. No problem is too big or too small. Whatever your worry it’s better out than in.”

You can contact Childline by phone, email, text or via a message board. To phone call 0800 1111. They have a video that shows you what happens when you contact them and lots of ideas and information about keeping safe.

Who are CAMHS?

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) is an NHS specialist service, provided by Oxfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for young people aged 5-18 years and their families who are experiencing difficulties with their mental and emotional health. Many young people experience difficulties with their mental health such as anxiety, low mood, trauma, eating difficulties, plus many others which can impact on all aspects of life such as education, home life, hobbies and interests, socialising and having fun.

It is important to know that everyone has mental health and that we can all experience tough times and this can cause our mental health to suffer.

What can they help me with?

Everyone experiences anxiety or feeling down, but when these problems don’t go away you may need some extra support.  Mental health conditions include such things as depression, anxiety and eating disorders. We can help you deal with these difficulties.

What happens at CAMHS?

CAMHS is made up of doctors, nurses and other medical staff. These people are trained to help children, young people and their families who are experiencing mental health difficulties.

At CAMHS, we will work together with you to help you find the right kind of support.

CAMHS have a good advice page to help you with some of the things that you might be experiencing, or some of the difficulties that you might be having, and some top tips on how to manage them. This can be found at the CAMHS website.