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Health and wellbeing

Emotional and mental health

Feeling good mentally is just as important as feeling good physically. Emotional health plays a huge role in how children and young people think, feel and behave.

Poor emotional health and wellbeing can lead to stress, anxiety, depression and panic attacks, and can make it difficult for a child or young person to feel positive about their daily life and maintain good relationships with family, friends and colleagues.

For some young people, just talking their problems over with someone can be extremely helpful.

Maintaining good mental health

It’s important to take care of yourself and get the most from life.

Good mental health is not simply the absence of diagnosable mental health problems, although good mental health is likely to help protect against development of many such problems.

Good mental health is characterised by a person’s ability to fulfil a number of key functions and activities, including:

  • the ability to learn
  • the ability to feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions
  • the ability to form and maintain good relationships with others
  • the ability to cope with and manage change and uncertainty.

Young Minds have a guide aimed at young people all about looking after yourself and your mental health.

How to access mental health services

Mental health services are free on the NHS. A referral to Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) can be made by anyone – including parents or the young person themselves if appropriate – as long as parents have given consent.

Devon School Nursing Service operates in schools across the county, delivering health advice and support to school-aged children and young people. A school nurse can provide support and advice on toileting issues, healthy lifestyles, sleep routines and mental health and wellbeing.

Read more about mental health services in England.

Local support

Devon’s CAMHS are offering additional 24/7 telephone support during the coronavirus pandemic. Please contact 03300 245 321 during normal hours (8am-5pm, Mon to Fri) or 0300 555 5000 outside these hours.

Young Devon provide information, advice and counselling for children and young people over 11. If you need to talk to someone, please email Anyone already receiving support through Young Devon’s Wellbeing service should email or call 07935364652 and leave a message with your name and contact details.

The ChatHealth text line allows young people aged 11-19 a place to talk completely confidentially with a school nurse about any worries or concerns they may have. Text 07520631722.

Kooth offers free, safe and anonymous online support and counselling for young people.

Other support and guidance

Young Minds have a range of help and advice, including guide for parent’s on how to support your child during the coronavirus pandemic and advice for young people about how they can look after their own mental health.

Childline have a similar advice page on how to cope during lockdown and also offer a free counselling service online or over the phone.

Meanwhile, the NHS Every Mind Matters website has tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus and how to look after your mental wellbeing while staying at home – you can even make your own Mind Plan.

Stem4 is a charity that promotes positive mental health for teenagers and encourages them to build resilience and manage difficult emotions with online resources.

Child Bereavement UK is a website for young people who are grieving as well as information on how to support a young person. A helpline is also available on 0800028840.


Or you could try one of the following apps:

  • Clear Fear
  • Combined Minds
  • Calm
  • Headspace
  • Calm Harm

Getting help

Young Minds

Offer support for children and young people with mental health issues, how to cope, and where to go to get help. Also provide a parent support helpline.

0808 802 5544


Offers advice about how to stay mentally healthy and what to do if you have a problem. Also offer support through the Mind Infoline.

0300 123 3393

Mental Health Foundation

UK charity with the aim to help people to thrive through understanding, protecting and sustaining their mental health.

Young Devon

Offer advice, signposting and counselling for young people and work closely with schools across Devon and Plymouth. Counselling is available in schools in Plymouth and in community venues across Devon.


A free educational resource on children and young people's mental health for all adults, aimed at anyone from beginner through to specialist.


Free, safe and anonymous online support - an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop.

If you are concerned that a child is being abused please call

0345 155 1071

or email

Professionals should complete the MASH contact form.

If it’s an emergency call 999