Getting Help for your Child
RBA will support you and your child to achieve their potential.
If your child is struggling and needs some help, you may be feeling really worried as a parent – and also like you’re not sure where to start. Remember that you and your child are not alone.
Trying to find the right help for your child and finding your way around different services can be really tiring at times. Remember to look after yourself as you go – and to remind yourself that you’re doing your best and it’s not always easy. RBA Pastoral Support will always respond to your emails and phone calls. Please contact us in the first instance.
That said, we know that speaking to professionals (and even teachers) can sometimes feel daunting, and it might feel difficult to find the right words to explain what’s going on or what help you think your child needs.
Parents in similar situations have found that the tips below can help.
1. Make a note of your concerns
Before speaking to a professional, make a note of your concerns and the times you have noticed particularly worrying behaviours or feelings. You can do this really simply by making a list on your phone. You can then take this with you to appointments to give the professional a clear sense of your child’s situation, and to support any requests for referrals.
2. Explore local services
If you’re on a waiting list for help, explore whether there are services available locally that you might be able to access in the meantime. Your child might also be able to get more immediate online support from organisations like The Mix and Kooth. You can find other online services and helplines at the bottom of this page. RBA can help you with these as well
3. Try talking to other parents
As you find your way around local services, try talking to other parents who have been through this, or speak to any friends or family who might be able to advise you about where to get started. For example, if you know anyone who works in mental health support, they might have a good idea about what’s available locally.
4. Follow up after the appointment
We will always follow up by email after a session with a family to confirm what’s been agreed. If you meet other professionals ensure the same will occur. Ensure you agree on timelines and that all parties stick to them.
Speaking to your GP
GP stands for ‘general practitioner’. This is the doctor who provides overall care to look after both your child’s physical and mental health. You can speak to your registered GP, or another GP at your local surgery, by calling your doctor’s surgery to book an appointment.
Your GP can help with things like:
- speaking to your child to find out how they’re doing and what’s going on for them
- discussing your concerns with you and providing advice
- suggesting different types of support or treatment, such as counselling and therapy or medication (treatment options will depend on your child’s age and what they’re experiencing)
- letting you know what support is available locally and making referrals. This may include CAMHS or other mental health support services
- offering your child regular check-ups to see how they’re doing
- finding local support groups for your child
Before making a referral to a support service, your GP will often want to see your child. If your child does not want to go to an appointment right now, you can still speak to your GP yourself to ask for information and advice.
GP surgeries offer urgent on-the-day appointments for when your child is really struggling. You can access these by calling the surgery first thing, or as soon as it opens.
If you don’t feel that your GP is taking your concerns seriously or you would like a second opinion, you can ask the surgery to book you another appointment with a different GP. It could also help to ask the surgery whether there’s a GP who has experience or specialises in young people’s mental health.
Your child might like to use our guide for young people to help them prepare for an appointment. You and your child can also use Doc Ready to help you think beforehand about what you’d like to say.
CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services)
CAMHS is a free, NHS-run service that helps children and young people with their mental health. CAMHS provide support and treatment such as counselling and therapy, medication (usually prescribed by a child and adolescent psychiatrist) and staying in hospital (also called ‘inpatient care’). You might also hear this service referred to as CYPMHS (Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services).
CAMHS teams are usually made up of nurses, therapists, psychologists, child and adolescent psychiatrists (medical doctors specialising in mental health), support workers and social workers, as well as other professionals.
Each CAMHS is a local service run by a local team in your area. This means each CAMHS around the country is slightly different and may offer different types of support, and that waiting times can vary between different areas.
Useful helplines and websites
Offers support to anyone under 25 about anything that’s troubling them.
Email support available via their online contact form.
Free 1-2-1 webchat service available.
Free short-term counselling service available.
4pm - 11pm, seven days a week
If you’re under 19 you can confidentially call, chat online or email about any problem big or small.
Sign up for a free Childline locker (real name or email address not needed) to use their free 1-2-1 counsellor chat and email support service.
Can provide a BSL interpreter if you are deaf or hearing-impaired.
Hosts online message boards where you can share your experiences, have fun and get support from other young people in similar situations.
9am - midnight, 365 days a year
Text YM to 85258
Provides free, 24/7 text support for young people across the UK experiencing a mental health crisis.
All texts are answered by trained volunteers, with support from experienced clinical supervisors.
Texts are free from EE, O2, Vodafone, 3, Virgin Mobile, BT Mobile, GiffGaff, Tesco Mobile and Telecom Plus.
Texts can be anonymous, but if the volunteer believes you are at immediate risk of harm, they may share your details with people who can provide support.
Opening times: 24/7
CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)
Provides support to anyone in the UK who is feeling down and needs to talk or find information.
Free webchat service available.
Information about the helpline and how it works available here.
5pm - midnight, 365 days a year
Muslim Youth Helpline
Provides faith and culturally sensitive support for young Muslims.
Online chat service available during opening hours.
4pm - 10pm, 365 days a year
Supports Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic children (11+), young people and parents and carers who have been affected by Covid-19. You can call to talk through any worry or problem, including issues such as bereavement, physical or mental health, financial issues or unemployment, or bullying and racism.
You can speak to someone in English, Gujarati, Urdu, Bengali, French, Spanish, Arabic, Punjabi, Mirpuri, Pothwari, Hinko, Hindi and Sundhi. Interpreters are available for other languages.
Webchat service available here during opening hours.
10am - 8pm, Monday - Friday; 10am - 3pm on Saturdays and Sundays
Whatever you're going through, you can contact the Samaritans for support.
Offers confidential advice and support for young people struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Its helpline service - HOPELINEUK - is available to anybody under the age of 35 experiencing suicidal thoughts, or anybody concerned that a young person could be thinking of suicide.
9am – midnight, 365 days a year