Helping young people with low mood
The following advice has been developed from information from the charity Kidshealth. It is aimed directly at young people.
There is no ‘quick fix’ for young people who are feeling anxious or sad, but this basic guidance can provide a good starting point.
When supporting any young person in this way speaking to a GP or a health care professional is always advised.
- Nurture yourself with good nutrition. Low mood can affect appetite. One person may not feel like eating at all, but another might overeat. If low mood has affected your eating, you’ll need to be extra mindful of getting the right nourishment. Proper nutrition can influence a person’s mood and energy. So, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and get regular meals (even if you don’t feel
hungry, try to eat something light, like a piece of fruit, to keep you going).
- Identify troubles, but don’t dwell on them. Try to identify any situations that have contributed to your low mood. When you know what’s got you feeling blue and why, talk about it with a caring friend. Talking is a way to release the feelings and to receive some understanding.
Once you air out these thoughts and feelings, turn your attention to something positive. Take action to solve problems. Ask for help if you need it. Feeling connected to friends and family can help relieve low mood. It may also help them feel there’s something they can do instead of just watching you hurt.
- Express yourself. With low mood, a person’s creativity and sense of fun may seem blocked. Exercise your imagination (painting, drawing, doodling, sewing, writing, dancing, composing music, etc.) and you not only get those creative juices flowing, you also loosen up some positive emotions. Take time to play with a friend or a pet, or do something fun for yourself. Find
something to laugh about — a funny movie, perhaps. Laughter helps lighten your mood.
- Try to notice good things. Low mood affects a person’s thoughts, making everything seem dismal, negative, and hopeless. If low mood has you noticing only the negative, make an effort to notice the good things in life. Try to notice one thing, then try to think of one more. Consider your strengths, gifts, or blessings. Most of all, don’t forget to be patient with yourself. Low mood takes time to heal.
- Exercise. Take a 15- to 30-minute brisk walk every day — or dance, jog, or bike if you prefer. People who are experiencing low mood may not feel much like being active, but any form of positive and mindful activity including yoga or simply going for a walk with friends and family can be useful. Once you get in the exercise habit, it won’t take long to notice a difference in your
Useful organisations and support
If you are concerned about your child’s mental wellbeing, the following organisations may offer useful support and information. You can also contact your child’s GP.
In an emergency call 999 or visit your nearest Accident and Emergency (East Surrey, Worthing, Princess Royal). The Urgent Treatment Centre at Crawley treats most injuries or illnesses that are urgent but not life threatening.
To inform the school of any incidents, contact your Leader of Year in the first instance.
OTHER SOURCES OF SUPPORT
CAMHS – Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service
Telephone: 01403 223340
Address: New Park House, North Street, Horsham
Sussex Mental Health Helpline for Children and Adults.
Available 24/7 – offering advice on mental health support.
Freephone: 0800 0309 500
West Sussex SCP
Integrated Front Door
For raising concerns relating to children, regardless of risk or complexity.
Telephone: 01403 229900
A telephone service for young people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts, providing a safe space to talk through anything that could be impacting their ability to stay safe.
Telephone: 0800 068 4141
Opening hours: 9am-10pm weekdays, 2pm-10pm weekends, 2pm-10pm bank holidays
Supporting children and young people (ages 3-13 years) with ASC and
ADHD traits and their families.
Mentoring service offers face to face or remote appointments.
Telephone: 01243 214120
A 24/7 listening service to those in emotional distress. This includes those in mental health crisis and individuals who are feeling suicidal.
Telephone: 116 123
Email: email@example.com (response time is approximately 24 hours)