We all have the potential to feel a wide range of emotions that can affect our mental health. Sometimes we don’t feel certain things, but at other times we can feel quite overwhelmed by particular thoughts and feelings. This is completely normal.
It can be really helpful to talk to your friends, family or people you know professionally about your feelings, such as a teacher or a youth worker, especially if you are finding things difficult.
Sometimes this isn’t easy, but there is support out there for you in a way that suits you best - you are not alone!
2 Information and services that can help
There is lots of conflicting information online about emotional wellbeing, some of which is untrue or misguided, and it can cause worry.
The following are links to trustworthy sources of information and support services, many of which we work with regularly. These are not the only things worth looking at online, but they are a great place for you to start looking.
- Allsorts - Information and support for young people under 26 who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or unsure (LGBTU) of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Advocacy service to provide representation also available.
- Aspens (Autism Sussex) - A charity enabling people with an autistic spectrum condition to receive help and specialist support.
- Autism explained - Video animation providing a view of autism from a young person’s perspective.
- Beat (formerly Eating Disorders Association) - The UK’s leading eating disorder charity with online support groups and a helpline for anyone under 18.
- CGL (Change, Grow, Live) - A free and confidential drug and alcohol service for young people aged up to 25. Their service includes housing, education, training and employment as well as psycho-social and clinical substance misuse treatment.
- Childline - Comforts, advises and protects children 24 hours a day and offers free confidential counselling.
- Early Intervention Psychosis Service - Treatment for psychosis, a condition which affects a person's mind, changing the way they think, feel and behave, unable to tell the difference between reality and their imagination.
- e-wellbeing (YMCA Dialogue) - A free and confidential counselling service for young people aged 11-18 in West Sussex.
- Family Eating Disorders Service (FEDS) - Support for children, young people and families affected by an eating disorder.
- Find It Out centres - Drop in-centres offering information, advice and guidance to young people aged 13-25.
- LifeCentre - A charity supporting survivors of rape and sexual abuse of all ages.
- Mind Advocacy - Advocacy service for young people aged 11-18 in West Sussex area who are in the community or who are informal inpatients.
- Mind - An independent mental health charity providing information and support to anyone experiencing mental health issues, plus Autism & Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) training courses for parents and carers.
- On My Mind (Anna Freud Centre) - Self care strategies if you are feeling low or anxious, and a wellbeing directory.
- Samaritans - A 24-hour confidential listening and support service.
- Sussex Mental Healthline - Offers crisis care for people in urgent need of help with their mental health. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The Saturn Centre (SARC) - A sexual assault referral centre providing a range of services to people of all genders who have been raped or sexually assaulted. It is open for police referrals across Sussex 24/7.
- Winston’s Wish Bereavement Support - Counselling for children, young people and families who have experienced bereavement in their direct family.
- Young Minds - A leading UK charity providing resource booklets, self-help guides, service directory and a parent and carers helpline.
- Your GP - Often a good person to talk to if you are struggling with your emotional wellbeing. They are also able to refer you directly to the Youth Emotional Support Service and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).
3 How to cope right now
As well as turning to other people for support, there are things that you can do that support your emotional wellbeing at a base level too, such as:
- making time to relax
- getting enough sleep
- eating healthily
- getting fresh air and exercise
- connecting with nature
- doing something that helps you to feel proud and good about yourself
- taking physical and emotional ‘breaks’ from the hectic nature of everyday life – try sitting still for a little while and just take 10 slow deep breaths and see if it helps you to feel a little more grounded.
Doing these things regularly really can help you feel a little steadier, so that you can start to think about how to manage the stuff that feels too difficult or overwhelming. The proof is in the practice!
Activities and practices to try
Here are a few suggestions of activities and practices you could try this week to support your emotional wellbeing.
The NHS Moodzone also has some practical tips on how to cope with stress, anger, low mood and depression.
4 Useful phone apps
Here are some phone and tablet apps to try that you may find useful. Search for them on your app store by name:
- Bellybio - Breathing techniques to help calm you down
- Headspace - Guided meditations
- Mindshift - Anxiety coping tools
- MoodSpace - Short, daily workouts to put your mood in a better space
- Rise Up: Eating Disorder Help - If you are struggling with food, dieting, exercise and body image
- Self-help Anxiety Management (SAM) - Tracker to see how your anxiety changes
- Sleep improvement app - Support for those with sleeping difficulties
- Smiling Mind - Meditation app to help deal with pressure, stress and challenges of daily life
- Stay Alive - If you are having thoughts of suicide or you are concerned about someone else who may be considering suicide
- ThinkNinja (Healios) - Self-help knowledge and skills
- Virtual Hope Box - Distraction, inspiration, relaxation and coping tools.
5 In an emergency
If you feel that you pose a serious and immediate risk to yourself or to someone else due to your mental health, you need to get emergency support.
If possible, see your GP. If this is not possible and it is urgent, visit your local hospital’s A&E department or call 999.
If you are not sure whether it is an emergency, but you need to speak to somebody at a time of crisis, try the following:
- Sussex Mental Health Line: Phone 0300 5000 101 (Mon-Fri, 5.00pm-9.00am and 24 hours a day at weekends)
- NHS: Phone 111
- Childline: Phone 0800 1111
- Your GP surgery.
6 Helping a friend or family member
It can be so hard when we see somebody we care about struggling with their emotional wellbeing. We want to do what we can to help, but we also have to be aware of taking care of ourselves.
Sometimes listening to your friend or sibling when they want to talk about a problem they are having can be enough. You could suggest one of the links or activities we have talked about.
If you feel overwhelmed by what they are telling you or asking of you, or it is happening all the time, it is important that you get some support too. You can do this by talking to an adult you trust or by contacting one of the support services we have suggested.
If a parent/carer is asking you for lots of emotional support, you might want to talk to another adult you trust about this, as some further help might be available for you or your family. Don’t forget, you do not have to take responsibility for other people’s emotional wellbeing.
If you fly on a plane and the crew are talking you through the safety instructions, they always remind you to 'put your own oxygen mask on before helping others to put on theirs’ if there is an emergency. This is because if we aren’t being looked after or taking care of ourselves, it is really hard to support somebody else and can lead to stress and problems for us. Let’s take care of ourselves as well as each other.
7 Information for parents and carers
If you are a parent or carer looking for support, you can refer to the following:
- Youth Emotional Support (YES) - To discuss the support that they or other services can offer your child
- Time to Talk - Counselling services for over 18s
- Early Help Hubs - Support services for children, young people and families, including courses and workshops supporting parents and carers of teenagers
- Young Minds A-Z guide - Gives advice on how to help your child with specific mental health conditions and life events which might be negatively affecting their wellbeing
- Child in Mind (Anna Freud Centre) - Series of podcasts to help parents understand and manage child and family mental health problems
- Emerging Minds - Tips for supporting children and young people with their anxiety.