Support with mental health and wellbeing for children

Thinking about your child’s mental health and helping them to develop their ability to cope with life’s challenges is one of the most important things you can do. Children and young people need help to understand and enjoy good emotional health and wellbeing as well as developing resilience to deal with the emotions and daily problems that arise. It is important to their overall health and development, to consider their mental health.

Page contents:

Social, emotional and mental health (SEMH)

Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs are a specific category of SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) that relate to the support a child requires to manage their emotions and behaviour. There can be many different reasons why a child or young person faces difficulties in their social, emotional or mental health needs being met and it is not always easy to identify those reasons.

The child or young person may:

  • require support to communicate with others and build relationships
  • have difficulty managing their emotions or processing feelings due to past experiences
  • have a diagnosable mental illness.

As someone looking after a child experiencing SEMH needs, good tactics to use include:

  • being inquisitive about the underlying unmet need
  • encouraging routines
  • having boundaries

Ensuring that you have a good network of people around you and communication with any educational facilities will help you and your child or young person to feel supported to cope with difficult days.

What you can do to help with your child’s mental health and wellbeing

Our “Mind you” website is available to help children and their families with their wellbeing. The website includes local information about mental health and wellbeing and an A-Z of information.    

The Young Minds website has produced a parents survival guide if you are worried about your child.

Information websites about mental health and wellbeing

“Mind You” website for children and young people

Mind You is South Gloucestershire’s mental health and emotional wellbeing hub for young people.  The Mind You website can help your child to look after their mental health and provides information for parents.

Happy Maps

A website of information to help you if you are worried about your child's behaviour or mental health.  You may be waiting for a specialist service but there is a long wait or perhaps you've been told the problem isn't quite serious enough to be referred to a specialist. Happy Maps will provide you with information to help you support your child.

“One You South Gloucestershire” service for adults

Our One You website includes a wide range of free mental health and emotional wellbeing support and information available for those aged over 18.

The NHS website 

The NHS website provides young people with advice and help on mental health problems including depression, anxiety and stress.  This includes the moodzone page,  links to NHS-approved online mental health treatments and articles covering a wide variety of subjects.

Mental health and wellbeing services in South Gloucestershire

We have a number of services that can help your child with their mental health and wellbeing that they can self-refer to, they are: 


Kooth is an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people between 11-18.  It is free to use and can be accessed by mobile phone, tablet or a desktop PC.

Off The Record (OTR)

OTR is a mental health social movement by and for young people aged 11-25 living in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

The OTR website gives information on how to get support.

Talking Therapies South Gloucestershire

This service from 16 allows you to access NHS talking therapy services within South Gloucestershire, in partnership with other providers.  You can self refer to this service by completing an online form on their website

Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS)

Bristol and South Glos CAMHS work with children and young people, up until their 18th birthday, who are experiencing moderate to severe, complex and enduring mental health difficulties.  This means that their difficulties are having an impact in more than one area of their life (eg home, school, hobbies, friendships) and have been present for over 3 months and have been getting worse despite other interventions being tried eg school counselling, Off The Record, Family and Young People Support

If your child is referred to us with severe or life-threatening mental health conditions they are seen urgently within 7 days. For example anorexia, psychosis or severe depression with thoughts and plans to take their life.

The assessment and treatment of neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism or ADHD are ordinarily done via paediatrics but may come to CAMHS if they additionally are struggling with any of the above.

Currently, a referral to CAMHS is by a professional who knows and has recently seen your child. Often this may be the GP but increasingly schools will make referrals or speak with the CAMHS primary mental health specialist for advice if they are concerned about one of their students

After 18 if it is required your child may transition over to adult mental health or to their GP.

The Community Children’s Health Partnership website has further information on the CAMHS service.

South Gloucestershire Mental Health and Wellbeing Directory of Services for Children and Young People 

The South Gloucestershire Mental Health and Wellbeing Directory of Services provides a place for children and young people, their families, and professionals to get quick, easy and direct access to up-to-date mental health and wellbeing information in South Gloucestershire.