What’s Worrying You…?

We have worked with some young people at local schools to develop this “What’s Worrying You?” page.

They attended a workshop to inform us of the kind of things they would find helpful if they were looking for support or advice.

The content of the page is hoped to be both relevant and relatable to some of the mental health and emotional wellbeing issues young people may experience.

Anxiety & Panic

From time to time, everyone feels fearful or worried and this is completely normal. For some young people, this develops into severe anxiety which can cause distress in everyday life.

Worry can be useful, by providing us with protection from threatening situations and allow us to respond. Too much worry can be debilitating and make everyday a struggle to get through due to not being able to stop thinking about worries.

Anxiety and worry can cause both physical and emotional responses. Some physical responses include feeling sick, feeling breathless or feeling tense, whilst some emotional responses are feeling fearful or panicky, irritable or upset.

One of the ways to reduce feelings of anxiety that you are feeling is to understand it better. By understanding how anxiety works, you can then understand the reasons why you are feeling anxious and breaking that vicious cycle.

Here are some booklets and webpages for you and your parents to help you learn more about anxiety and start to break that cycle:

Young People and Anxiety Factsheet

NHS Choices Website

YoungMinds Website

Bullying & Cyber Bullying

Bullying is a consistent and repeated behaviour that is specifically meant to hurt someone either physically or emotionally. People get bullied for many different reasons, such as their race, religion, sexuality, appearance or gender, but it’s important to remember bullying is never the fault of the victim.

Bullying that takes place online is known as cyber bullying. It is as harmful as physical, verbal or face to face bullying. Bullying and cyber bullying can take place in different ways and at different places like at home, at school or out in the street. With the growing use of smartphones and as we play out more of our lives online, it’s important to consider how to safely use the internet and deal with any peer pressure that comes along with it.

The most important thing to do if you are being bullied is to reach out to someone immediately (like a parent/guardian, school teacher or support worker).

Bullying can be a scary experience, so try not to deal with it on your own. Explaining to an adult what is happening can enable you to take the first step to make it stop and gain some practical advice on how to get through it.

For information on statistics and information on bullying please take a look at the following websites:

Self Harming

Self harm has become increasingly common in the past few years amongst young people. It is often considered a reaction or coping strategy to another problem, such as anxiety, stress or feeling overwhelmed. It is also used as a way to express distress or as a “release” for difficult emotions. Unfortunately, this relief can be quickly followed by guilt, leading to an unhelpful cycle that can be really difficult to break out of.

If you are self harming, it is important to speak to somebody you know and trust to help break the cycle and how you other ways to cope with difficult emotions, rather than self-harm.

There is lots of useful information on the Young Minds website and here are some leaflets from the Self Harm Network on self-harm, including distractions and alternatives that we share with professionals and families that come to CAMHS.

Obsessional Thoughts and Compulsions

Obsessions are usually thoughts, pictures or impulses that cause unpleasant feelings or anxiety and pop into our mind when we don’t want them. Many things can cause these obsessions, and they usually leave the person feeling out of control and frightened. A compulsion is a behaviour or act that people do to try and reduce these uncomfortable feelings or “put right” the obsessional thought.

Some people may experience obsessions and compulsions and live with this without it causing too many problems. However, sometimes, these obsessions are so frightening, and people are doing so many compulsions that it really starts to interfere with their quality of life.

There is some really useful Information Guide on OCD HERE and a specific guide aimed at young people’s HERE.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT)

It is common for young people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) to experience mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and self-harm.

If you identify with any aspect of the LGBT community, it is likely that you will have already dealt with or be dealing with a lot of extra stress from things such as hiding your true identity, homophobia or bullying, even parental or religious pressure, which can result in low self-esteem, feelings of fear or rejection. This can lead to social isolation, increased feelings of loneliness and loss of confidence.

There are some young people who may struggle to know how to identify themselves in terms of their gender. This can maybe be through finding it hard to identify with their birth gender, wanting to identify as another gender to which they were born or wishing to identify as gender diverse.

If you are struggling then it is important to talk to someone.

Sharing a problem is the start of being able to deal with it. Choose someone who will listen to you and be supportive such as your GP, a relative you trust, a friend, youth worker, social worker or a teacher.There are several organisations that can support young people with LGBT issues:

Stonewall – an organisation that campaigns for the rights of LGBT community in a range of different settings

RUComingOut – a website where people who have come out as LGBT share their stories to support others

• Mermaids – a supportive website that helps Young People and their families in the face of adversity, specialising in gender identification issues

• Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS)  – The Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) is for children and young people, and their families, who experience difficulties in the development of their gender identity. It’s a national specialised service, based in London and Leeds, and is the only one of its kind in Great Britain.


Everybody feels stress at some point in their lives. Most of the time, it is an understandable reaction to a situation they are in. However, if it carries on too long, it can become uncomfortable and disrupt our everyday life.

Young people tell us that a main source of stress for them is pressure of exams and performing well in school – proving that you are not alone if this is something you are also struggling with!

We know sometimes it can feel as though the stress is going to continue forever…however with each exam that passes the stress will decrease slightly, until the final exam is over.

Please check out the following “exam tips” from the YoungMinds website to give you strategies on how to survive exams and look after yourself during this stressful period.

Young Minds
Student Minds

Alcohol & Drug Misuse

Drugs and alcohol are taken by young people for many different reasons.

It may be as a form of escapism to cope with difficult life circumstances or relationship problems; this is often called self-medicating.

Alcohol and drugs change the way we feel about ourselves; for example, making us feel confident to overcome a natural shyness. In some instances it may start as trying something new or as a way of “having fun” with friends.

What we do know is that this can sometimes spiral out of our control and people find themselves using substances more regularly which starts to negatively impact on their general wellbeing and mental health.  This in turn affects their relationships, physical health, confidence, school and social activities.

There are lots of online support networks to access for help or advice:

Hearing Voices

Did you know that around 8% of children and young people hear voices that others don’t?

Many more (up to 75%) have one off or fleeting experience in their childhood.

Most aren’t bothered by these experiences, and they don’t need extra support from mental health services.

Hearing voices is therefore not necessarily a sign of mental illness and can be related to a traumatic event such as a bereavement or family breakdown.

Sometimes people’s internal thoughts can even feel and sound like voices in their head.

Though it is important to understand that not everyone hearing voices needs support or help with their mental health and wellbeing, it may be wise to seek help if the voices become hostile, intimidating and start to have a negative impact on your day to day living.

This “Hearing Voices” Booklet is a helpful guide for parents and young people.


Difficulties with sleep come in many different forms.

These can include disturbed sleep, insomnia, nightmares, sleep walking or just simply not getting enough quality shut eye.

It is common for people of all ages to experience problems with sleep. Though lack of sleep does not necessarily mean there is a mental health condition, we do know from research that regular sleep is key to positive emotional wellbeing and essential for maintaining good mental health.

Problems with sleep can be associated with stress, diet, lifestyle, big changes such as moving house or social.

If you have trouble with sleep and this is impacting upon your daily life, there us is some useful sleep hygiene tips on the NHS Choices website, as well as the Young Minds website.

Feeling Low and / or Depressed

At some point in life, many people experience a period of feeling low but this normally ceases with the support of family, friends and people around you. However, with depression, the feelings don’t lift after a few days, and they can carry on for weeks or months.

Feeling low can interfere with daily life and reduce motivation, or cause conflict in our relationships. It can also lead to isolation or suicidal thoughts if it becomes more serious.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, it can be scary and confusing, but there is no reason to feel alone. There are many people out there who can offer support to help with these feelings, such as Young Minds and the The Blurt Foundation  which aims to increase awareness of and understanding of depression.


Coping with the loss of a loved one or someone who is significant to us is one of the hardest things to comprehend and cope with.

In these difficult times, it is important to speak to those around you, such as parents, teachers and friends. They can help you cope and adjust to any loss and the array of feelings this brings with it.

Grieving loss is a very individual and human process, it is important to give yourself time in this process and not to put pressure on yourself to behave or act a certain way.

It’s also important to look after yourself during this difficult time e.g. eating regularly, having a regular sleep routine.

NHS Choices “Bereavement and Young People” webpage is full of tips to help cope with the death of a loved one.

Another form of loss includes parents getting divorced, and this can trigger the same sorts of feelings and emotions as physical bereavement or loss.  This can be a very difficult time but it is important to remember it is not your fault.  Childline has some excellent coping strategies for this situation.

Self Confidence

Self-confidence issues are very common amongst young people.

75% of all young people have experienced low self-confidence at least once.

Having low self-confidence (also known as self-esteem) can be caused by different things. This can be things such as comparing yourself to your friends or other people, problems with family, or receiving a negative comment.

Sometimes this passes and you can regain your self-confidence, and even use the negative experience to develop yourself. Sometimes it takes a little push to get over it.

Here are some top tips to break the cycle and start to recognise and value your strengths and your value!

Building confidence and self-esteem
Believe in Yourself

Eating & Body Issues

It is incredibly common for young people to experience problems with eating.  This can range from restricting food intake in order to lose weight to binge eating (eating a lot of food(s) in one go) and compensating for this by exercising, restrictive food intake or laxatives.  There are some people who have a restrictive diet due to struggling with the taste of new foods. All of these can cause distress for the individual as well as the family around them.

Many eating difficulties can make you feel quite lonely and as though nobody understands. It can affect both your physical health and emotional health when dealing with eating difficulties. There is rarely one reason why the eating problems began as they are complex and not everyone experiences the same things. BEAT is a useful website for help and advice around eating disorders.

Issues with body/body image can be a severe struggle for young men and women alike. Body image is how and what you think about your body, and can be positive or negative. A negative body image can lead to lower self-esteem, and can be difficult to cope with on a daily basis. However, there is advice out there on how to create a more positive Body Image