Mental health support for children and young people

Positive mental health

Mental health is something that every single one of us have and different life events could have an impact on our mental wellbeing, the same as it might on our physical health. If we all have it, then hopefully we can all understand how important it is to take positive steps to look after it. 

We are working in partnership with a range of organisations to raise awareness of the importance of looking after your mental wellbeing and supporting your friends, family members and colleagues to look after theirs.

Support for children, young people and parents during coronavirus

What to do if you’re a young person and it’s all getting too much

The Anna Freud Centre have provided some helpful advice relating directly to looking after your mental health specifically in relation to coronavirus for young people, parents/carers and schools/colleges.

The Mental Health Foundation website and Mind website both have advice on how to look after your mental wellbeing during this outbreak.

Place 2 Be have put together a guide to helping parents answer questions from their children and to support family wellbeing.

Young Minds have some advice on talking to your child about Coronavirus and 10 tips from their Parents Helpline to support family wellbeing.

Covibook have created an interactive resource designed to support and reassure children aged 7 and under, designed to help children explain and draw the emotions that they might be experiencing relating to coronavirus.

COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression is a free online course offered by Futurelearn. It is for young people, parents, carers, teachers, and other professionals to learn helpful, practical techniques to cope with low mood and depression during the lockdown period and beyond.

If your child is worried about what is happening with coronavirus, Beyond Words (book series for people with learning disabilities) have created a book about the Coronavirus.

Mencap offer easy read and pictorial advice on coronavirus.

The National Autistic Society have produced webpages to support families and individuals during the outbreak.

The Council for Disabled Children offer guidance and information to parents and carers, as well as social care and education professionals.

Barnardo's are offering rapid support for children and young people affected by coronavirus.

Kooth are continuing to offer online mental health support and counselling services.

Public Health England have produced guidance on helping children and young people cope with stress during the pandemic. They have also produced an easy read guide called 'Looking after your feelings and your body', as well as a downloadable factsheet about coronavirus aimed at children, which is also available as a YouTube video.

Zero to Three have a range of resources and services for parents/carers of young children, including a section of resources related to coronavirus. 

The national charity, Mind, website now has a section specifically on coronavirus and wellbeing for young people. 

Coronavirus - A Book for Children is a beautifully illustrated book aimed at primary school children that is free to download.

The CBBC Newsround website has lots of short films to support children, including exercise. 

Every Mind Matters has a page of top ten tips to help if you are worried about coronavirus.

The Emerging Minds Network have produced a booklet of advice for parents and carers supporting children and young people with worries about coronavirus.

Insight Timer is a free meditation app for smart phones with a library of guided meditations and talks.

If you are a child or young person or a parent or carer concerned about a child/young person’s mental health, there is a helpline hosted by Swindon’s CAMHS Service provided by Oxford Health NHS Trust from 5pm-11pm Monday-Friday and from 9am-11pm weekends the number is 01865 901000 and families should ask for the CAMHS helpline.

After 11pm please phone 111.

This is not an emergency service.  In an emergency please phone 999.

There are also resources online to keep children active and support their mental wellbeing:

Cosmic Kids Yoga are free videos on Youtube which are fun, interactive and intend to introduce children to yoga, mindfulness and relaxation. Suitable for children aged 3+ years.

Tiny Happy People and Hungry Little Minds both offer activities for under 5's.

The NHS website has physical activity guidelines for children and young people, as well as exercise and activity ideas. have guidance on how to make your own sensory motor path.

Flamingo Chicks have made an inclusive, active learning dance video on Youtube for disabled children.

Useful home schooling resources for paents, teachers and SENCos - has more mental health and wellbeing resources 

Easy Read documents to support families during pandemic 


Community Support for Children and Young People:

Swindon Mental Health Support Teams Trailblazer:

As part of the government's vision to expand mental health support for children and young people, Swindon has been chosen as one of only 25 sites in the country to pilot an exciting initiative. This initiative will see dedicated mental health support teams working directly with students in both schools and colleges across the town. The project, which is being delivered collaboratively by Swindon CCG and the charity Barnardo's, has been awarded £2.3 million in funding by NHS England.

The role of the Mental Health Support Teams (MHST’s) will be to work with children and young people in schools across Swindon who experience mild to moderate forms of mental health and emotional wellbeing issues, such as anxiety, behavioural difficulties and friendship issues. Additionally, the teams will also work with school and college staff to help them provide better support to students. As part of the initial pilot, there will be three Mental Health Support Teams based in Swindon. Each team will have links with between 10 and 15 of the 42 different schools and colleges involved with the pilot, and will be made up of a lead Clinical Service Manager and a number of Educational Mental Health Practitioners, who will work directly with children and young people.

In addition here is the link to the Trailblazer section on the CCG website

Also please see the link to the parents/carer’s and families newsletter 


Targeted Mental Health Service (TaMHS):

At times parents may become concerned about their child’s emotional wellbeing or mental health. They may feel that their child needs additional support from a mental health service.

Services in Swindon for mental health are provided by the targeted mental health service (TaMHS) and the child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). All referrals for mental health support come to a Single Point of Access (SPA), referrals to this SPA are made by a professional who knows your child. This could include GP, teacher or social worker. This service does not accept self-referrals, however if the concerns are related to an Eating Disorder please make a telephone call directly to TaMHS to ensure that there is no delay in referral being screened. The SPA deals with requests for all mental health interventions including specialist services (i.e. CAMHS and LD CAMHS).

TaMHS are a part of the Integrated Locality Service for Children and Young People, providing services for young people up to age 18 years and their families. The team is multi-disciplinary and includes Clinical Practitioners and Outreach workers who are skilled in working with mental health.

TaMHS will offer short-term interventions tailored to meet the needs of each child, young person and family. The service works on an individual basis, or with families, using evidence-based interventions. We also provide Parenting Support through The Family Links Nurture Programme and Talking Teens.

The service aims to work in settings that are easily accessible and familiar to children and families, such as schools, Locality bases and family homes.


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS):

CAMHS in Swindon is provided by Oxford Health NHS FT and works with young people and their families up to the age of 18 years.

CAMHS is a multi-disciplinary team which includes a range of therapists, mental health clinicians and psychiatrists. The service provides assessment and treatment of young people who are presenting with significant mental health difficulties. The service offers a range of choices of therapy and will work with you after assessment to help you choose the therapy which will be most beneficial. We offer a choice of interventions that may be one to one but could also include families and sometimes groups. We may also work with the network around your young person and can offer consultation to those already working with your young person or family.

The service also has a service which works specifically with young people with mental health needs who also have a learning disability (LD CAMHS).

We work using the Care Program Approach which means that your treatment with CAMHS will be monitored and reviewed with you regularly to ensure we are meeting the goals that you have set. CAMHS works within the THRIVE model framework meaning that we provide a needs led service so that young people can access the right help at the right time and be able to make choices about the therapy and intervention they are having.

We are a community-based service which means we can offer appointments in our clinic at Marlborough House and in community settings for example schools, GP surgeries and homes.


How to Access CAMHS

If you think you or your child needs to see someone from TaMHS or CAMHS, the first step is to talk to a teacher, school nurse, social worker or your GP. They will ask you some questions about your situation and how you are feeling and if they decide that you should speak to mental health services they will write a referral explaining why they feel it would be helpful for you to have an appointment. This referral will go to the Single Point of Access (SPA) which is jointly run by TaMHS and CAMHS. All referrals are screened and the most appropriate service is identified and you will be sent a letter detailing the next steps. This could include being invited for an assessment with TaMHS or CAMHS or signposting to a service which is better suited to meet the needs of your young person/family. If your child is aged 16 or over, they may be seen on their own and we may write to them directly.

Swindon Single Point of Access Form - Word version

ChildLine: A free, private and confidential service for children and young people up to the age of nineteen; you can contact a ChildLine counsellor about anything. You can call free on 0800 1111, have a 1:1 chat online or send an email.

Young Minds: The UK’s leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people; they offer comprehensive and accessible advice and information about mental health. They also have a parent’s helpline. Parents Helpline: 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday 9.30am – 4pm, free for mobiles and landlines)

Papyrus: Provide confidential help and advice to young people and anyone worried about a young person.

Swindon Samaritans: Free Phone-116 123 for support to talk about whatever’s getting to you in your own way. 


Online support for Children and Young People (0 - 18)

Kooth: From XenZone, is an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people aged 11 - 18, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop and free at the point of use.

MeeTwo: An award winning free fully moderated app for teenagers, which provides peer support, expert help, inbuilt educational and creative resources as well as in app links to UK charities and helplines.

NHS Resources: NHS approved advice on all health conditions including mental health.

Books on Prescription Scheme: understand and manage your health and wellbeing using self-help reading. The books are chosen by health experts and people living with the conditions covered. People can be recommended a title by a health professional.

Looking after our mental health is MAGIC: this video details the 5 steps we can all take to improve our mental health and wellbeing, to feel more positive and get the best out of life.


Local support for Children and Young People (0 - 18)

IPSUM (16+ only): A local Mental Health Charity providing therapeutic creative arts, music and talking therapies. 

Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind (16+ only): In partnership with National Mind. Promoting & empowering local wellbeing through a range of services including; Self Harm Counselling, 1:1 Support, Community based sessions including sports & crafts. 

Swindon Step: Local youth charity for 10- 18 year olds, offering therapeutic interventions. 

Out of The Can: Local youth group and peer support for children and young people who are part of the LGBT community, including emotional support. 

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust: A local health and wellbeing charity which provide nature-based activity as therapy, a range of provision available across Swindon. 

On Trak Youth Counselling: provides free advice, support and services to young people in Swindon between the ages of 14-19 (at the time of referral), who are experiencing a mental health problem or emotional distress. An appointment can be made via phone by the person needing the service, or by parents and carers. Following the initial appointment when an assessment will be made, the young person may be offered short, medium or long-term one-to-one counselling, usually on a weekly basis. Where appropriate, they may also be referred or directed to other support services.


Cruse Bereavement Care provide support to all ages and provide services locally. They have put together resources to show how bereavement and grief may be affected by this pandemic. National helpline: 0808 808 1677

Child Bereavement UK supports families and educates professionals when a baby or child of any age dies or is dying, and when a child is facing bereavement. Helpline: 0800 1111

Winston's Wish provide specialist bereavement support services. They have an experienced support team who provide bereaved children and families with the tools to come to terms with their grief. Freephone national helpline: 0808 020 021

Wiltshire Treehouse offer a wide range of post-bereavement support for young people.


In An Emergency


This page was last updated on 20/04/2021