Listen to this page
What supports are out there?
Being aware of the different support options will help you feel prepared if young people are wanting to seek support.
Seeing a GP is a good place to start. They have some knowledge of mental health symptoms and illness and can help the young person work out the best ways to cope with how they’re feeling. Choosing the right doctor is important. Some young people may not want to see their regular doctor to discuss these concerns and some doctors are also better understanding young people than others. Ask around for advice and make sure enough time is given for the appointment so the young person can talk about their concerns in their time. Always ask if they want you in the appointment with them, they may feel more comfortable with someone there or without.
Doctors can also provide Mental Health Care Plans that allow a young person to access counselling for free or at a reduced cost.
Sometimes having someone outside of their lives, is useful for a young person to talk to. There are lots of different professionals, services and types of counselling and it can be difficult to work out where to go. It is important to acknowledge that if the young person doesn’t find one counselor useful, it doesn’t mean that counselling is not helpful but rather perhaps they didn’t quite fit with that person or their style.
Headspace can be an accessible starting point.
There are lots of great services and information online for young people to access confidential support in their own time. There are also telephone counselling lines that are great options if the young person is not ready to see a professional about their concerns.
Here’s a few ideas:
Local Mental Health or Psychiatric Services
Based at a hospital or local community health centre, these services can provide mental health support for young people up the age of 25. Whilst anyone can make a referral, there is a process to assess the type of support the young person may need. With limited resources and high demand, not all young people will be able to access this support and in fact, generalist counseling might be a more appropriate response to their needs.
If you feel a young person is a serious and immediate risk to themselves or others, contacting emergency mental health supports and referring to any plans you have been given or contact relevant supports provided by the agency you are working.