Concerned about a child?
This site is designed to give expert-informed guidance to help school staff understand and promote children’s mental health. We are not expecting staff to become mental health experts.
If you are worried that a child is at risk, involve your designated safeguarding lead (DSL) (or designated senior person/child protection officer) as a priority. They will contact the parents/carers and other services as necessary.
If the child is at immediate risk, please ensure that they are taken, urgently, to their GP or A&E – either by their parents/carers or, where parental contact is not possible, by the school DSL.
Starting a conversation about mental health
It can feel difficult to start a conversation about mental health. The following pages contain tips, advice and guidance for opening up conversations about mental health and wellbeing with children and parent/carers:
- How to start a conversation with children about mental health.
- How to start a conversation with a parent/carer.
We have also created a printable tip sheet for having a conversation with children about mental health.
If you are looking for help or guidance around a specific concern or issue, the following sections of this website may be helpful:
- Mental health needs: focuses on those children who have already become mentally unwell, have a condition such as autism or hyperactivity which may impair their ability to thrive and learn without further support or adjustment being made by schools, or are on the threshold of being mentally unwell.
- Risks and protective factors: helps school staff understand the many risk factors that may challenge and undermine children’s mental health. It also helps schools understand what they can do (on their own and working with partners) to help build good mental health and resilience, and reduce the risks that can harm children’s mental health.
Need further help?
There are several national agencies and helplines that can provide further help, advice and support:
If you're worried about a child, even if you're unsure, contact their professional counsellors for help, advice and support.
You can contact them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by email or through the online reporting form. You can also call the Helpline Monday to Friday 8am-10pm or 9am-6pm at the weekends.
Call: 0808 800 5000
Free, confidential helpline or online/email chat available 24/7 for anyone under the age of 19.
Children can contact Childline about anything - they are there to support them and help them find ways to cope.
Calls to Childine are free, can be made without credit and will not show on the phone bill.
Call: 0800 1111
Email: Sign up to send an email
Education Support Partnership
A free and confidential helpline available 24/7 to everyone working in education. You can speak to a British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy accredited counsellor for:
Call: 08000 562 561
Text: 07909 341229
YoungMinds Parents Helpline
A helpline that provides information and advice to parents/carers who are worried about a child or young person’s wellbeing/mental health.
The service is available 9.30am–4.00pm, Monday to Friday.
Call: 0808 802 5544