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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, but, in most cases, you will need a referral from your GP to access them.

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.

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 private counselling for young people and work closely with schools across Devon and Plymouth providing counselling in schools and also training staff.


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

If it’s an emergency call 999

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