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Finding support – for young people

Information for young people about the different places you can go for help, when you need support for how you're feeling.

This page is also available in Welsh.

What support can I get?

Finding the right support isn't always easy, especially if you're not feeling well, but it's important to remember that there are lots of places you can find help. You're not alone, and you deserve support.

This page covers the following types of support available:

"When I did reach out, everyone I told was so supportive and I really wish I'd done it earlier - the prospect of it was so much scarier than the reality."

Stay safe

  • If you're feeling overwhelmed, or like you want to hurt yourself, you can ring HOPELINEUK or text YoungMind's Crisis Messenger service and a counsellor will talk things through with you confidentially.
  • If you feel like you may attempt suicide, or you have seriously hurt yourself, it’s an emergency. You or a trusted adult should call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

Mental health emergencies are serious. You are not wasting anyone's time.

Face-to-face support

Your doctor

Doctors can give you a safe space to talk and answer any questions you have. They can also:

See our page on visiting your doctor for more information.

School or college

Many schools and colleges have a school nurse, pupil support or counselling service. If you're not sure what support is available at your school you could ask a teacher or a member of staff you trust.

Family or friends

Close friends or family can sometimes be really helpful and comforting. They can:

  • listen to you
  • be there to support you with how you're feeling
  • go to appointments with you
  • help you find support.

See our page on talking to friends and family for tips on how you can start the conversation.

Local charity support services

If you would like to find support in your local area run by charity organisations, you can search for services using the Anna Freud wellbeing directory.

For example, this might be counselling support, or peer support groups where you can meet with other young people to talk about your experiences and share tips.

Some local Minds also offer services for young people. You can use our online map to find your nearest service.


If you have a job, some workplaces offer free wellbeing support. To find out what support there is, you could ask your manager or HR team.

For example, some companies offer an Employee Assistance Programme, where you can talk to a counsellor in person or over the phone, in confidence for free.

Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

These are specialist services supporting children and young people with their mental health, run by the NHS. You may also hear them called Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (CYPMHS).

See our page on understanding CAMHS for more information.

Social care

If you have a mental health problem or any other health problem, or are having problems at school or home, your local council can provide extra support. This might be a safe place to stay, help with money, support at school and activities outside of school.

To find out what help they offer in your area, you can speak to your local council or ask a parent or teacher to do this for you.

"If you feel uncomfortable saying your thoughts aloud, an alternative would be to write them down and give them to who you feel comfortable with."

Over the phone or online

Charity helpline services

You can talk to someone confidentially who is trained to listen and support you, over the phone, by text or by webchat. Here are some examples:

  • Childline (0800 11 11) – Run a free 24-hour helpline, email service and online and phone counselling service for children and young people in the UK. They can also provide Welsh speaking counsellors.
  • Samaritans (116 123) – Emotional support for anyone feeling down, experiencing distress or struggling to cope. If you live in Wales, Samaritans Cymru run a Welsh language line (0808 164 0123).
  • HopeLineUK (0800 068 4141, or text 07786 209697) – Advisors trained to help you focus on staying safe from suicide. They can provide advice and support that may help you to stay safe.
  • The Mix (0800 808 4994) – Offer a helpline, email, live chat, telephone counselling service and crisis text line for anyone under 25 years old wanting support.

For a full list of charity organisations that offer support, visit our useful contacts page.

Support for different groups of people

Switchboard (0300 330 0630) – the LGBT+ helpline, webchat, and nationwide database of LGBTQ+ services

Stonewall Youth (08000 50 20 20) – information on coming out, health, and LGBTQ community groups near you

Muslim Youth Helpline (0808 808 2008) – helpline and webchat support and signposting for all issues

Ethnic Minorities and Youth Support Team Wales – mentoring and support in Wales for children and young people

Peer support message boards

On message boards like The Mix or Childline you can share how you're feeling with other young people, as well as asking for information and suggestions for support

There might be other message boards or online groups that you find. But sometimes you might see posts, images or comments that are upsetting. It's a good idea to look for groups that:

  • have moderators, who can make sure everyone sticks to the rules
  • have guidelines about what you can and can't post
  • are for your age group
  • make you feel better, not worse
  • don't encourage you to do anything dangerous or harmful to yourself.

"Check in with yourself: are message boards helping or hurting your mental health?"

Things that I could try myself

Self-help books

There are a number of self-help books you can read, that are recommended by health professionals, such as the Reading Well Shelf Help scheme that you can get for free at your local library.


Doing little things to look after your wellbeing can be really important. It might be:

  • getting enough sleep
  • doing something you find relaxing, like listening to music or watching your favourite film
  • doing something you enjoy, like a favourite hobby or spending time with people you love
  • spending time in nature, like going for a walk or visiting a local park
  • getting active by going for a run, bike ride or playing a sport you enjoy.

For more ideas on taking care of yourself, visit Childline for tips on things you can try when you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed.

"It can take quite a while to figure out what type of support is best… I’ve found the best support includes a range of things."

< Back to our resources on how to get help and support

Go to our main info hub for young people >

This information was published in June 2019. We will revise it in 2021.

References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.

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