Nursery & Child Care

Can Children Have Mental Health?

Anxiety in children and young people

All children and young people
have fears and worries which is
quite normal. This can turn into
a concern when they affect your
child’s thoughts and behaviours
on a daily basis.

Some factors that may contribute to anxiety are:

  • Moving house or school
  • Parents arguing and fighting
  • Death of a close friend or
    relative
  • Being abused or neglected
  • Difficulties at school
  • Bullying
  • Getting injured in an accident

Some factors that may contribute to anxiety are:

  • Struggling to play/engage
    with children their own age
  • May appear timid
  • Complain of a headache/
    stomach ache
  • Having panic attacks
  • Difficulty sleeping
    Quickly getting angry
  • Irritated
  • Uncontrollable outbursts
  • Lack of attention
  • Not eating properly
  • Always crying
  • Being clingy
  • Constantly worrying
  • Feeling tense or fidgety

Depression in children and young people

Depression can sometimes look
like normal behaviour. Many
common life experiences such as starting a new school, exams, parents separating, friendship groups, bullying, being abused, a family history of depression or
other mental health problems can be contributing factors to a Childs mental health.
Noticing signs of mental health in children may consist of the following:

  • Not enjoying things they used to like doing
  • Becoming withdrawn and spending less time with friends and family
  • Experiencing low self-esteem or feeling like they are ‘worthless’
  • Low-mood or lack of motivation
  • Feeling tearful or upset regularly
  • Changes in eating or sleeping
    habits.

Can children have mental health?

Mental health conditions within children and young people are becoming more and more prevalent. Those who suffer with mental health may find it hard to talk about their feelings which can have extremely negative effects and serves to worsen their health.

Recognising that your child may be struggling with their Mental health is a worrying moment for parents. It can be difficult for parents to accept mental health problems within their own kids. Figures illustrate how mental health disorders can occur from early childhood, and that their prevalence increases with age, particularly for young women. This highlights the importance of intervening early to prevent the development of mental health
problems. This page is create to help you put your mind at ease, offering  support, and explanations about the different signs and possible factors that could contribute to a child experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal feelings or self-harm.

Self - harming in children

Self harm within children and young people can be very distressing for a parent/carer and you may have many questions as to why your child may be thinking about self harming. Self-harm can feel like a way to cope with difficult feelings or to release tension. The physical pain of hurting themselves can feel like a distraction from the emotional pain they’re struggling with.

Like anxiety and depression there can be many factors why children/young people may want to self harm: 

  • Having low selfesteem or feeling like they’re not good enough
  • Being bullied or feeling alone
  • Experiencing emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or neglect
  • Grieving or having problems with family relationships
  • Experiencing depression, anxiety or eating problems

It is vital that you seek help as soon as possible if you have concerns about a child that may be self harming.

Some indications to look out for are:

  • Covering up, for example by wearing long sleeves a lot of the time, especially in summer
  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns or bite-marks on their body
  • Blood stains on clothing, or finding tissues with blood in their room
  • Becoming withdrawn and spending a lot of time alone avoiding friends and family and being at home
  • Feeling down, low self-esteem or blaming themselves for things
    outbursts of anger, or risky behaviour like drinking or taking drugs.

How to support a child who is self-harming or thinking about it:

Listen to and offer emotional support eg- telling them that you care bout them Helping them find ways of coping without harming themselves Help them build confidence within themselves.eg- making a list of things they are good at Find something that they like to do eg-drawing, painting, sport

Contact your GP/healthcare professionals for further support

If you believe your child may be suffering from depression or anxiety you could:

  • Try speaking to them to find out what is bothering them and how they are feeling
  • Let them know that you are there for them and that it is okay to have certain feelings
  • Encourage them to talk to someone they trust
  • Being patient and calm with them
  • Create a calm zone, somewhere your child can go to breath, think, exercise or to have some quiet time.

Contact your GP/healthcare professionals for further advise

Where to find help

NSPCC

  • Trained professionals who can provide expert 
    advice and support if you’re concerned about a
    child.
  • Helpline 0808 800 5000
  • Monday-Friday
  • 9am-6pm weekends 9am-4pm
  • Email: help@nspcc.org.uk.
  • www.nspcc.org

Mind

  • Information and support as well as helplines for people experiencing mental health problems and
    their friends and families.
  • Helpline: 0208 215 2243.
  • Monday-Friday 9am-6pm
  • Text: 86463
  • info@mind.org.uk
  • www.mind.org.uk

Samaritans

  • Round-the-clock confidential support to people going through a tough time.
  • 24 hour Helpline: 116 123
  • Email: jo@samaritans.org
  • www.samaritans.org

CAMHS

  • Offers assessment and help to children, young people and their families with emotional, behavioral and
  • Mental health difficulties.
  • Helpline: 0203 222 5600
  • Mondays – Fridays between 9am and 5pm

Young minds

  • Here to make sure they get the best possible mental health support and have the resilience to overcome
    life’s difficulties.
  • Parent helpline 0808 8025544
  • Monday-Friday 9.30am-4pm
  • www.young minds.org.uk