What is mental health?

Mental health is the health of our minds. This includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects our feelings, thoughts, mood and behaviour. As well as how we deal with life’s ups and downs, the choices we make and our relationships with people.

What do I do if I’m worried about my mental health?

It’s always OK to ask for help.

If you are worried about your mental health, you should try and seek help early. A good first step is to talk with an adult that you trust, such as parent, teacher or you GP, and let them know how you are feeling.  Try to be as open as possible so that the trusted adult is able to have some real understanding of how you are feeling.

It’s not uncommon for people to find it hard to discuss their mental health with others so if you’re struggling you might find it helpful to try the following.

  • Make sure you have plenty of time to talk with the adult that you trust
  • Ask your GP for a double appointment, so that you have enough time to let your doctor know how you are feeling
  • Take a friend or relative to the appointment. They may be able to help you explain how you are feeling to the doctor and/or reduce your anxiety around opening up.
  • Write down what you would like to say before the appointment. This could include notes of your symptoms and questions you would like to ask.

What are the signs that things may not be right?

Most people will feel low, anxious or irritable at some point in their lives. However, if you’re persistently feeling this way and your day-to-day life is getting worse it could mean something is not right.

The following symptoms could be signs of mental health problems.

  • Being anxious and irritable.
  • Having a low mood for a long time.
  • Finding it difficult to concentrate or remember things.
  • Sleeping less or too much.
  • Changes in your mood.
  • Finding it difficult to manage everyday life, for example, preparing food and washing regularly.
  • Feeling teary.
  • Becoming suspicious and paranoid.
  • Becoming isolated and withdrawn.
  • Having suicidal thoughts.
  • Believing that your family and friends want to do you harm.
  • Believing that people or organisations are out to get you.
  • Experiencing hallucinations. This means sensing things that other people do not, this can include seeing and hearing things.
  • Believing that you have special powers or are on a mission.
  • Excessive spending and problems managing your money.

What helps?

It isn’t good to keep things bottled up. You should try and talk to someone you know and trust about how you’re feeling, as this may help you feel better. That person may also be able to:

  • Support and encourage you
  • Help you find and understand information
  • Discuss your options with you
  • Come to your appointments
  • Help out with everyday tasks

How can I help myself?

There are lots of things you can do to help yourself feel better. These could include:

  • Talking about your feelings
  • Writing feelings down or keeping a journal
  • Trying to do things you used to enjoy, even if you don’t feel like it – seeing friends, attending a youth group, reading, playing sports, walking the dog, playing music or singing, cooking, doing something creative or watching your favourite TV shows for example. Setting goals and writing them down can be a useful way to motivate yourself to do this.
  • Joining safe online forums such as Kooth, The Mix or Childline – where you can share experiences with other young people
  • Spending time outdoors and taking some regular exercise – there is lots of evidence to suggest that this can help to improve mood.
  • Taking care of yourself – eating healthily, avoiding drugs and alcohol, making time for relaxation or mindfulness activities.
  • Sticking to daily routines as much as possible even if this is tough and you feel tired – going to school/work, trying to eat regularly, going to bed and getting up at normal times. Missing school or avoiding social situations may feel better in the short term, but over time this can increase feelings of loneliness and worthlessness, leading to a ‘downward spiral’.

HeadStart Your Way

Who are they?

HeadStart Your Way is the Community strand of HeadStart Kernow delivered by the Your Way partnership. They support young people aged 10-16, parents, carers, volunteers and community groups through their Youth and Community Facilitators aiming to prevent the onset of mental ill health.

What Mental Health conditions do they support?

The main target group for support within HeadStart are young people with low level anxiety and stress through to mild and early stage mental ill health. However, all staff have also been trained within the Trauma Informed Schools approach to develop an in-depth understanding of what it’s like for a young person to suffer from specific mental health problems e.g. depression / anxiety and feel confident in offering them accurate empathy, understanding and key psycho-education support.

What services do they provide?

Their Youth Facilitators can provide you with direct support through one to one workshops and group activities. Offering a safe and confidential place to talk as well as giving you the relevant information and techniques to help with your emotional wellbeing.

Their Community Facilitators can provide links between young people, schools, community groups, professional and parents. As well as delivering specialist training packages tailored to parents/carers, community groups, VCSE providers and volunteers around mental health and wellbeing. They also manage a group of volunteer mentors who can offer you support, understanding and encouragement through any challenges you might be experiencing, at a lower level than our Youth Facilitators provision.

When are they open?

Their services are arranged between Monday – Friday by the individual and Facilitator.


Their Facilitators arrange visits in schools, local outreach and community venues across the County dependent on the individual they are supporting.

How do I refer?

Referrals should be made via the Early Help Hub by requesting a "Bloom" consultation. The Early Help Hub will then ensure that the most appropriate means of help and support are given. It’s important to note that a referral into Bloom does not guarantee support from a HeadStart Youth Facilitator. It is however the only way to access HeadStarts one-to-one support. Contact the Early Help Hub by calling 01872 322277 or emailing earlyhelphub@cornwall.gov.uk

Who can be referred?

10-16 year olds with Mild to Moderate Mental Health issues.

Hear Our Voice 1-2-1

Who are they?

The Hear Our Voice 1-2-1 NHS Commissioned service is a project that provides targeted one to one intervention to young people who are experiencing mild to moderate difficulties with their mental health and emotional well-being.

What Mental Health conditions do they support?

Anxiety, Depression, risk taking behaviours, low confidence and self-esteem.

What services do they provide?

  • A safe and inclusive environment that supports young people to explore
  • Mental health management
  • Resilience building
  • Positive coping strategies development
  • Supporting young people in setting and achieving their goals using a range of individual interventions including youth work and goal setting methods.

When are they open?

This can vary. Intervention usually takes place during weekdays; however, evenings and weekends are available to meet the needs of the young person.



How do I refer?

Via email: referral@ypc.org.uk

Who can be referred?

Children and young people aged 11-18 with mild to moderate mental health

Hear Our Voice WP CYP

Who are they?Hear Our Voice WP CYP (Children and Young People Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies) is a project Commissioned by the NHS and delivered by Young People Cornwall (YPC). They provide Low intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (LI CBT). The idea for LICBT is to operate at an early intervention level where presentations experienced are mild to moderate. LI CBT is a single stranded approach meaning that the focus will be on the ‘main’ concern such as anxiety or depression rather than co-morbidities and complex presentations.LICBT is an approach that is considered non-intrusive and considered guided self-help. The overall aim is to replace unhelpful habits with more adaptive/helpful habits and strategies and places the focus on one’s thoughts and behaviours.What Mental Health conditions do they support?Anxiety, Depression/low-mood and Behavioural difficulties (13+)What services do they provide?
  • Low intensity Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Lifestyle management
When are they open?Their services are arranged between Monday – Friday by the individual and the WP CYPWhere?Each WP CYP will arrange visits in schools, homes, local outreach and community venues dependent on the individual they are supporting.How do I refer?Referrals are taken directly through the organisations request for help form and referral management system or through the Early Help Hub.Who can be referred?Children and young people (age) with mild to moderate anxiety and depression presentations, including social phobia, separation anxiety, generalised anxiety, panic (including panic with agoraphobia), mild health anxiety, simple phobia, sleep problems & stress management.Exclusions include high risk children and young people including entrenched self-harm, complex cases (co-morbidities), chronic depression and anxiety, Bi-polar depression, blood vomit and needle phobia, PTSD, bereavement, complex interpersonal and relationship issues, pain management, psychosis, eating disorders, historical and current experiences of abuse/violence.

Speak Up Cornwall

Who are they?

Run by Young people Cornwall (YPC) speak up Cornwall is a participation group for young people aged 13-24 looking at, supporting with youth voice and creating tool kits for mental health services across Cornwall. Speak Up Cornwall works at both a local reginal and national levels. It also supports services at a strategic level as well as service entry level.

What Mental Health conditions do they support?

  • Current members have a wide range of mental health issues.
  • What services do they provide?
  • Participation group
  • Support
  • Peer Support

When are they open?

Days and times will be confirmed by the group lead.


They meet once a month at Zebs youth centre The Leats, Town Centre, Truro TR1 3AG.

They also work remotely (over social media) and attend meetings, conferences and events all over Cornwall, the southwest and nationally.

How do I refer?

Via emailing Kirsten.Jenkins@ypc.org.uk or through the Young People Cornwall referral form which can be requested by emailing: referral@ypc.org.uk

Who can be referred?

Young People aged 13-24 with an awareness of mental health services.

Myth buster #1

Myth: People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.

Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak. Many people need help to get better.

Myth buster #2

Myth: If a parent has a mental health problem, you’ll have it too.

Fact: Not necessarily, many factors contribute to mental health problems such as your family history, genes, physical illness, injury, brain chemistry, trauma or a history of abuse.

Useful resources

Rethink Mental Illness

What to expect from your doctor

Young Minds

A guide to reaching out for help

Think Ninja

A self-help knowledge and skills App for children and young people (10-18 years old)

Need help now?

If you need to speak to someone urgently call your GP or family doctor!


NHS 24/7 helpline : 0800 038 5300
Childline up to 19 yrs: 0800 1111
The Samaritans: 116 123
In an emergency go to A&E or call 999