Mental health in children and young people with SEND
What is Mental Health?
Mental health refers to a person’s cognitive, behavioural, and emotional wellbeing - it is all about how you think, feel, and behave.
There is a wide range of common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety to more complex problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Depending on which mental health condition you have, a mental health illness may cause you to feel tired, sad, helpless, angry or agitated all the time. 1 in 4 of us have problems at some time in our lives, such as money worries, stress at work or the death of a loved one, which can affect our mental health.
In a few cases, mental health-related illnesses can cause serious and long-lasting effects. Around a quarter of all GP visits are for a mental health problem.
The relationship between issues with mental health and Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND) is complicated. A child or young person with SEND is often at a higher risk of developing a mental health illness or issue but similarly, mental health issues or illnesses can be the cause of SEND.
- Mental wellbeing - https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/top-tips-to-improve-your-mental-wellbeing/
- Anxiety - https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/anxiety/
- Sleep - https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/sleep/
- Stress - https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/stress/
- Low mood - https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/low-mood/
If you are experiencing a mental health problem, it can be very distressing and frightening especially when you are first diagnosed. Often, it’s hard to talk about the things that are worrying you at first. But it's better to talk to someone about how your feeling and ask for help when you need it.
If you know something's not right, don't pretend that everything is OK. There are many people who can help, but the NHS is usually the best place to start.
Find your local NHS Mental Health Service - https://www.nhs.uk/service-search/mental-health
The NHS is there for everyone, talk to your GP, they aren't just there for your physical health - they also have experience in helping people with mental health problems and can refer you to specialist services.
If you don't have a GP, register with one - find a GP near you.
If you have a child or are looking after a young person and are concerned about their mental health, you are not alone.
The services or organisations below provide guidance and information on how to help you.
- Mental Health Foundation – A guide to mental health for those with SEND
- Mencap – Mental Health advice for people with a learning difficulty
- Mental Health and Autism - Advice on the relationship between Autism and common mental health conditions
YoungMinds offers free confidential online and telephone support to anyone worried about the emotional and mental wellbeing of a child or young person up to the age of 25.
- Call the free parents' helpline on 0808 802 5544 from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org and YoungMinds will respond to your query within 3 working days.
MindEd is an online portal offering free, simple advice to help parents identify, understand and support children and young people with mental health issues and illnesses.
- Action for Children's guide to mental health within children looking at their thoughts and behaviours relating to their mood, actions, social and keep talking (MASK).
- Buckinghamshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services Bucks CAMHS are specialist mental health services for children and young people (under 21) provided by the NHS.
- Kooth - A free online service called Kooth has been launched to help young people aged 11 to 19 with their mental and emotional health.
A mental health crisis or emergency is when you feel you are no longer able to cope and need immediate help.
If you need immediate help, please:
- Go to any Accident and Emergency (A&E) department.
- Call 999 and ask for an ambulance to take you to A&E.
- Ask someone else to call 999 for you or take you to A&E.
Can't go to Accident and Emergency (A&E)?
If you are not having a mental health crisis, but are looking for urgent support. Please contact one of these support services.