Getting some advice and support online can be a great first step, especially if you are anxious about asking for help face to face or feel you don’t have anyone to talk to.
Online support is often anonymous and can help you to start talking and understand your options without being worried about judgement. It is also a really useful option for those who are unable to access services in the community because of where they live, lack of transport or other barriers.
Online services are often available outside of normal working hours, some are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, this means there is always someone to talk to even in the middle of the night.
There are lots of different forms of support online. Some services offer 1 to 1 messaging, counselling and mentoring with professionals and volunteers. Some have online forums and message threads you can read and contribute to, helping you to connect with others who have had similar experiences, other sites have videos, blogs and real life stories from other young people which can provide you with helpful tips, or hope that things will get better and you are not alone.
There are also a huge range of apps and games that can help to promote mental wellbeing – with everything from lifestyle tips, mood trackers and meditation, mindfulness and relaxation guides, to interactive cognitive behavioural therapy or stress/anxiety management. See our guide to Awesome Apps for some ideas on where to start …
Here are some sources of online support we recommend:
Kooth.com offers free online counselling and mentoring to young people aged 11 – 19 years. They can help with a range of difficulties including – family and relationship problems, school worries, feeling low or depressed, sexuality, eating disorders, self –harm and bullying. The site also has loads of useful information, and runs regular forums and chats. Counselling is available until 10pm daily.
Childline has an online counselling/messaging service now. Childline is for any young person up to and including 18 years old, you can talk to them about anything, including worries about your mental health and wellbeing. It is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The site also has lots of information pages with advice on everything from bullying, to parents separating, abuse and domestic violence, school and exam worries and mental health concerns. The Childline telephone helpline is also open 24 hours a day, call 0800 1111.
The Mix is a great site for young people, with advice and information on mental health, sexual health and relationships, drugs and alcohol, work and study, housing, benefits and homelessness, crime and money. There are apps and videos from other young people and professionals and experts. You can also access moderated group chats, discussion boards and forums, 121 online messaging and telephone support.
Young Minds are the experts on young people’s mental health. The website offers information, advice, blogs and real life stories, support for parents and professionals, and opportunities to get involved with awareness raising and campaigning.
Papyrus UK offer help and advice to young people experiencing thoughts of suicide, see the website or call 0800 068 41 41; SMS: 07786 209697
B-EAT offers information, advice and support to those experiencing eating disorders, or caring for someone with an eating disorder. There is a helpline – 0808 801 0711 – and online support groups and message boards.
7 Cups of Tea offers free, anonymous and confidential online text chat with trained listeners, online therapists & counsellors.
Time to Change is a national campaign working to raise awareness of mental health, reduce stigma and get people talking. The website has lots of inspiring real life stories from young people.
Talk to Frank offers information, advice and confidential online, telephone and SMS chat about drugs and substance use.