Child and adolescent mental health

Anxiety disorders for children & young people

We all feel anxious at times - when we move to a new school, before a big test or exam, our first date with a girlfriend or boyfriend, for example - and it's perfectly normal. But there are times when we feel our worries and fears have taken control of our lives. We just can't stop worrying about something or everything. We may have all sorts of physical symptoms - headaches, stomach aches, feeling or being sick, not being able to sleep. It may feel like we are having a heart attack. We may even wet the bed. We may not want to leave the house or go to school, or not want to be away from mum or dad. Anxiety can express itself in so many ways.  

I'm worried about...

Worries about the world

There are a lot of things you might be very worried about that are going on in the UK and the world at the moment. Here you will find a few issues a lot of young people are worried about at the moment.Click on the red circles for more information.

Worries about school

School takes up a large part of the week, and while some children and young people thrive at school, others really struggle and school can be a time of high anxiety. Click on the red circles for more information.

Other worries

Websites and web pages

Anxiety Canada™ is a leader in developing free online, self-help, and evidence-based resources on anxiety and anxiety disorders and promotes understanding about anxiety and anxiety disorders  in children, young people and adults. Their website includes plenty of information about anxiety for young people, as well as ideas and tips for coping with anxiety.

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Anxiety UK works to relieve and support those living with anxiety and anxiety-based depression by providing information, support and understanding via an extensive range of services, including 1:1 therapy. They are a user-led organisation, run by people with experience of living with anxiety, stress or anxiety-based depression, supported by a high-profile medical advisory panel.

They encourage young people to get help for their anxiety. Many anxiety disorders begin in childhood and adolescence, and the average time a person waits to seek help for their condition (particularly for OCD and chronic worrying or GAD as it is known) is over 10 years.

Childline is yours – a free, private and confidential service where you can talk about anything. Whatever your worry, whenever you need help, we’re here for you online, on the phone, anytime.

Feeling anxious or stressed can lead to different reactions. Childline can help you find ways to cope if you're ever worried. They have information and videos about anxiety, including tips on self-care. 

BBC's CBBC Newsround has a page packed with information and videos to help children understand anxiety. There are also some suggestions on how to cope if you are feeling worried or anxious, including a video you can watch.

Find out more about anxiety, how it feels and how to help yourself from CBBC's Lifebabbles guide to life's ups and downs.

The Children's Society fights child poverty and neglect, and helps all children have a better chance in life. Right now, in Britain today, there are children and young people who feel scared, unloved and unable to cope. They want young people to get the advice they need, when they need it.  They have developed a Resource vault with advice for children and young people to find out more about a certain mental or emotional health issue they are worried about. The information is broken down into four age categories: 0-5, 6-12, 13-17 and 18-25.

Foundry is a Canadian organisation that is transforming how young people and their families find the resources and support they need, both online and in their communities. They focus on wellness, empowering young people to live a balanced and fulfilling life.  Here you will find information, self-checks, tips, apps & tools, resources and stories from other young people to do with and about anxiety.

Health for Teens features bite-sized information on a comprehensive range of physical and emotional health topics. together with films and quizzes. There is information about what anxiety is, its symptoms, and ways of coping with it.

Interchange Sheffield is an emotional wellbeing service for children and young people under 25. They provide a range of interventions aimed at supporting their emotional well-being and mental health, including counselling, art therapy, therapeutic group work, resilience building and mental health awareness raising workshops. Their mission is to improve the mental health and well-being of children and young people in communities in and around Sheffield, but their website has child-friendly information on various topics, including anxiety, that would be useful for all children and young people. 

kidshelpline is an Australian charity similar to childline in the UK. Likewise, they have a website packed with information about issues relevant to children, teens and young adults, including this page on anxiety for young people aged 13-18. 

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No Panic is a registered charity which helps people who suffer from panic attacks, phobias, OCD and other related anxiety disorders. They specialise in self-help recovery and our services include providing people with the skills they need to manage their condition and work towards recovery. They have a Youth Hub for young people experiencing anxiety disorders, plus pages on exams and anxiety and self-help for young people 

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The Royal College of Psychologists is the professional medical body responsible for supporting psychiatrists throughout their careers from training through to retirement, and in setting and raising standards of psychiatry in the UK.

This information describes the different types of anxiety you might feel as a young person and how it is treated.

ReachOut.com is an online youth mental health service based in Australia. It helps young people through tough times. Reflecting the need for reliable information on anything which could affect someone’s mental health, ReachOut.com supports those going through a tough time. Emphasis is placed on peer support and the principle that we all know someone going through a tough time. They engage in a space natural to most of us now – online.

Everyone feels some anxiety at different times during their life. It becomes a problem if you feel so anxious that it interferes with your normal day-to-day activities. Here are many ways to manage it.

 

stem4 is a teenage mental health charity aimed at improving teenage mental health by stemming commonly occurring mental health issues at an early stage. Young people have just as much right to accessing facts about good mental health as they do good physical health, and yet there is a lack of accurate information. 

There is information on how to support a friend, as well as information on symptoms and how to get help for teenagers experiencing anxiety themselves.

An interactive experience about what causes anxiety and how to manage it creatively. You make your way round a park including quizes, a maze, games and audio material; Different sections of the park look at common symptoms of stress and anxiety; how to recognise and deal with them; relaxation techniques; audio and visual experiences of young people's experiences of anxiety; and resources and links to other websites.

The Mix is here to take on the embarrassing problems, weird questions, and please-don’t-make-me-say-it-out-loud thoughts that people under 25 have in order to give them the best support through their digital and phone services. Their Vision is that all young people should be able to make informed choices about their physical and mental wellbeing so that they can live better lives. 

Understanding mental health can be tricky but The Mix is there to make sure you don’t have to do it alone. Whether you’re worried about your mental health, or someone else’s, they have information about mental health, from anxiety and depression to self care and counselling.

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YoungMinds is the UK’s leading charity fighting for a future where all children and young people are supported and empowered and to make sure they get the best possible mental health support and have the resilience to overcome life’s difficulties. They have a helpline for parents to get advice on their child’s behaviour, emotional wellbeing, or mental health, and have information booklets on a variety of topics that are free to download.

It’s really common to develop anxiety at some point. Find out here what causes it and what you can do to feel better.

Videos about anxiety

This video teaches teens how anxiety is a normal biological response – called “Fight, Flight, Freeze” – that can get triggered inappropriately in the modern world.

 

This video teaches  younger kids how anxiety is a normal biological response – called “Fight, Flight, Freeze” – that can get triggered inappropriately in the modern world.
 

This fun and humorous video book add-resses the problem of anxiety in a way that relates to children of all ages. It gives children tools to feel more in control of their anxiety.

Apps

This video explains depression and anxiety using the characters from the movie Inside out.

A child psychotherapist explains what anxiety is, why kids get it and how it works.

A teenage girl battles anxiety with her inner voice criticising everything about herself.

Video of a song about anxiety made by young people for young people.

Secondary school students talk about their experiences of severe anxiety and the positive impact of getting professional help.

Resources

Relax like a cat - relaxation for children

Relax like a cat is a colourful leaflet for younger children to practice controlled breathing and muscle relaxation. It is best to sit down and read it with your mum, dad or other trusted adult at a quiet time of day when there are no worries or stresses. You can also listen to a female or male voice reading the relaxation exercises to you. 

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