Your Mind Matters

Working together to support young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health in West Sussex.


Help and support for young people

The pandemic has been tough and has affected pretty much everyone’s mental health

Your mind matters, the way you feel matters, and your emotional health is just as important as your physical health.

If you or a friend are feeling low, please don’t struggle in silence.

You are not alone; there are people who care and will listen.

Ten tips on self-care

  1. Be kind to yourself. It’s OK not to feel quite like yourself.
  2. Keep in touch with friends.
  3. Plan fun things to do.
  4. Reduce stress by taking regular exercise.
  5. Eat regular healthy meals to maximise your energy levels. Drinking water also keeps the brain active.
  6. Aim for 7 to 8 hours' rest each night.
  7. Try relaxation techniques like deep breathing to help you feel calm.
  8. Remind yourself to take each day at a time, structuring your day with things you can realistically achieve.
  9. Switch on programmes, podcasts and content that make you laugh. It may help you feel happier.
  10. If you need help, talk to your family and friends, or someone you trust.

If you need help with your emotional wellbeing and mental health there is a range of support, information and contacts available.

  • West Sussex Your Space has details on local services that can help.
  • Youth Emotional Support (YES) service provides free support to 11-18 year-olds:
  • e-Wellbeing is an online service for young people across Sussex that can help you access the right support and information about your emotional health and wellbeing.
  • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has a range of advice and information including guidance on eating difficulties, drugs and alcohol, family breakdown, and sex and relationships.
  • Allsorts supports young people under the age of 26 who are LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or other) or exploring their gender identify and/or sexual orientation. The Sussex-based charity runs activities, including youth groups and one-to-one support.
  • Young Minds has guides on coping with life and supporting friends, plus a textline providing 24/7 support.
  • YMCA DownsLink Group Crawley offers support for young people aged 11-25 from Crawley and surrounding areas who identify as LGBTQU+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, unsure, plus any other LGBT+ identity). These young people can access the safe space at the LGBTQU+ Haven at the YAC (Youth Advice Centre) for:
    • free, confidential 1:1 information, advice, guidance and support from a LGBTQ+ youth support worker
    • fortnightly youth groups for 11-15 year-olds and 16-25 year-olds, giving the young people a safe space to meet other LGBTQU+ young people from the area and to build confidence through LGBTQU+ affirming activities
    • access 1:1 counselling or emotional health support in a confidential space.
    For more information contact Eleanor Snodgrass on 07552 825088 or Eli Adie on 07884 549349 or complete the contact form here. Visit the website.
Side view of a young woman

If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis

Stop, take a breath and take these steps: 

  • Talk to someone.
  • See Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's information on help in a crisis.
  • Let someone know you do not feel safe or are struggling, such as a parent, carer, teacher or professional.
  • Call 999 in an emergency or one of the following helplines - you can phone as many times as you like 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It might take a few tries before you can speak. They will listen and understand.
    • Childline: Freephone 0800 1111
    • Samaritans: Freephone 116 123
    • Sussex Mental Healthline: Phone 0800 0309 500
    • YoungMinds crisis messenger: Text YM to 85258 (free from most mobile providers).
  • Contact PAPYRUS which helps prevent young suicide.
  • Contact Harmless, the national service for self-harm.
  • Text SHOUT to 85258.
  • Download some of these apps:

Parents, carers and families

The pandemic has been tough on us all

The resources below can help you help the children in your life with their emotional wellbeing and mental health.   

More resources will be added as information becomes available. If you’d like more information about getting support with your own mental health in the meantime, visit Connect to Support or our West Sussex Wellbeing pages.  

Five top tips for parents, carers and families 

  1. Changes in your child’s behaviour since the pandemic could be a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. It doesn’t necessarily mean they need specialist mental health support. Try asking them about it.  
  2. Monitor your child’s exposure to stories and information about the pandemic and potentially conflicting messages they might be seeing.  
  3. Listen to your child and accept their feelings and concerns. Encourage them to acknowledge their feelings.  
  4. Help your child find things they can enjoy which can distract them from their worrying thoughts for a while.  
  5. Help your child focus on positive aspects of life; there's more to life than COVID-19. 
Your man taking a deep breath

Parents' initiatives

  • Sussex Health and Care Partnership offers a downloadable toolkit for parents, carers and families. This has guidance on signs to look for if your child is experiencing difficulties with their mental health, plus details of useful numbers and resources for help.
  • Recipes 4 Wellbeing cards are easy-to-read guides with advice on issues including anxiety, bullying, exam stress, gaming and body image, among others.   
  • NHS's Every Mind Matters website offers tools to help manage and improve mental health.
  • Rites for Girls offers Girls’ Net, a six-week online journey for girls aged between 8 and 18, designed to equip them for times of challenge and change. It’s made up of six 75-minute sessions in a small group of girls guided by a full trained Girls’ Net mentor. Feedback from girls includes:
    • “A chance to be with real girls who won’t judge or be mean, and to talk and discuss daily problems and learn new ways to think about stuff.”
    • “I like it that what I say is kept private and I have a choice in everything.”
  • Self-Harm Parents and Carers Networks join other parents and carers across West Sussex in a free workshop to support you and your family. These are facilitated by West Sussex Mind, YMCA Downslink Group, supported by Allsorts Youth Project. You will be able to talk with other parents and carers to hear what is working for them, discuss your support needs, hear from guest speakers and get updates on the latest initiatives, research and resources. The next event in West Sussex is Wednesday 3 November, 6pm to 8pm.
    Book your place
  • West Sussex Mind is an independent charity whose services support young people, adults, older adults, carers and families affected by mental health problems. It is running a series of learning and training courses over the coming months. These include support for bereaved children, mental health first aid, encouraging mentally healthy internet use, and suicide prevention and support.
    Find more information and book a place.
  • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has a section dedicated to parents and carers. It lists some of the challenges children and young people might be facing and tips for managing together.    
  • Cruse Bereavement in West Sussex provides free support, including information, advice and one-to-one sessions for anyone, including children, in West Sussex who has been bereaved.
    Call 07376 616628 or email sussexbereavedbysuicide@cruse.org.uk.    
  • YMCA DownsLink Group Crawley offers support for young people aged 11-25 from Crawley and surrounding areas who identify as LGBTQU+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, unsure, plus any other LGBT+ identity). These young people can access the safe space at the LGBTQU+ Haven at the YAC (Youth Advice Centre) for:
    • free, confidential 1:1 information, advice, guidance and support from a LGBTQ+ youth support worker
    • fortnightly youth groups for 11-15 year-olds and 16-25 year-olds, giving the young people a safe space to meet other LGBTQU+ young people from the area and to build confidence through LGBTQU+ affirming activities
    • access 1:1 counselling or emotional health support in a confidential space.
    For more information contact Eleanor Snodgrass on 07552 825088 or Eli Adie on 07884 549349 or visit the website

If you are concerned for the immediate safety of a young person

Please advise them to talk to someone:

  • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's information provides information on help in a crisis.
  • Call 999 in an emergency or one of the following helplines. The young person can phone as many times as they like 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It might take a few tries before speaking to them, but they will listen and understand.
    • Childline: Freephone 0800 1111
    • Samaritans: Freephone 116 123
    • Sussex Mental Healthline: Phone 0800 0309 500
    • YoungMinds crisis messenger: Text YM to 85258 (free from most mobile providers).
  • Contact PAPYRUS, which helps prevent young suicide.
  • Contact Harmless, the national service for self-harm.
  • Text SHOUT to 85258.

Professionals working with children

Young girl taking a deep breath

When working with children and young people it can sometimes be hard to know what difficulties they might be having in their life, or if they are struggling with their mental health or emotional wellbeing.

In most cases, a young person having these difficulties would not need the support of specialist mental health services.  

There are a number of charities, agencies and organisations that can provide a wealth of resources and support to help young people understand how they are feeling, tools to bolster their mental resilience and tips for how to start to feel better.  

For further guidance and details download the toolkit for professionals working with children and young people:

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has a section dedicated to professionalsincluding guidance and support on a range of issues.  

Also see our information for parents, carers and families for further information and the support available.  

In some cases, the difficulties a young person is experiencing might be more severe and having a significant impact on their daily life. When this happens, it might be appropriate to consider a referral to the Sussex Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

Visit the CAMHS website.  

If you are concerned for the immediate safety of a young person 

Please advise them to talk to someone:

  • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's information provides information on help in a crisis.
  • Call 999 in an emergency or one of the following helplines. The young person can phone as many times as they like 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It might take a few tries before speaking to them, but they will listen and understand.
    • Childline: Freephone 0800 1111
    • Samaritans: Freephone 116 123
    • Sussex Mental Healthline: Phone 0800 0309 500
    • YoungMinds crisis messenger: Text YM to 85258 (free from most mobile providers).
  • Contact PAPYRUS which helps prevent young suicide.
  • Contact Harmless, the national service for self-harm.
  • Text SHOUT to 85258.

Programme of work in West Sussex

The coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns have had a significant impact on the mental health of children and young people across West Sussex

West Sussex County Council has dedicated additional resources to support young people, their families and professionals working with them at this critical time.

Together with our partners, the NHS, community groups, district councils and parents, we are co-ordinating a programme of events, initiatives and resources. It includes:

  • mental health first aid support in schools
  • online mentoring courses to support children and young people
  • online courses to support parents and carers in developing tools to help children manage their feelings and mental health
  • an LGBTQU+ support pilot project
  • a campaign to promote emotional wellbeing and positive mental health.

Read Supporting children and young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health for more details.

Young man taking a deep breath

Organisations, training and resources

Events and training by organisation, type and links.
Organisation Training/Course/Resource Link
Allsorts Youth Groups in West Sussex for young people under the age of 26 who are LGBT+  Allsorts contact form 
Cruse Bereavement in West Sussex Support for anyone - including children - who has been bereaved Contact your local branch of Cruse
Rites for Girls Girls' Net - a six-week journey for girls aged between 8 and 18 Book a place
Sussex Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Download easy-to-read guides with advice on issues including anxiety, bullying, exam stress, gaming and body image. Recipes for wellbeing cards
Sussex Health and Care Partnership Toolkit for parents, carers and families Looking after your child's mental health (PDF, 1.5MB)
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust  Tips to help parents and carers manage a child's mental health and wellbeing View information for parents and carers
West Sussex Mind A series of learning and training courses Book a place
West Sussex Mind/YMCA Downslink Group/Allsorts Youth Project  Self-Harm Parents and Carers Networks Book a place at the next online event - next event 3 November 2021
YMCA DownsLink Group Crawley Youth Groups and 1:1 support for young people aged 11-25 from Crawley and surrounding areas who identify as LGBTQU+ Find out more on the website 

Mental health survey

West Sussex County Council is seeking feedback from young people, parents, carers, wider family members and professionals on how you feel about emotional wellbeing and mental health information available to support young people in West Sussex. We want to ensure you have the most helpful information, in the right place and when you most need it.

The survey should take around 5 minutes to complete. Your responses will help shape future communications and initiatives.

Take the survey (external link)

The survey is open until Sunday 14 November 2021

 

Share this