The Police and You

The Police and You

The Police and You


The police are there to keep all of us safe. Their job is to prevent and investigate crime. There are lots of different kinds of crime. There are some things that you might not even realise are against the law. For example, littering and being really noisy in a place where it upsets other people are both types of anti-social behaviour.  

Committing a crime is serious. Once you’ve done it you can’t go back and change it. If you get caught you could be given a caution or you might have to go to court. In serious cases you could be sent to prison.

In the UK the age of criminal responsibility is 10. That means anyone over the age of 10 can be arrested and taken to court if they have committed a crime. If you are under 18 when you commit the crime then you will go through the youth courts.

This means the sentences are different to those given to adults. It also means that if you are sent to prison that it will be a special youth centre.  

It can also be scary if you witness a crime. You may not know what to do. Or you could be scared about telling someone what you’ve seen. It can be hard to know what to do if you know the person committing the crime. Even if you don’t want to get someone into trouble you should still tell an adult what you’ve seen.

Remember that reporting crime is the right thing to do. Although the crime might not have affected you it could have impacted someone else. For many victims of crime getting justice is important.

If you are the victim of a crime then you need to tell someone what’s happened. The idea of going to the police might seem scary. You may worry that they won’t believe you or that it will be your word against the person who committed the crime.

You should always talk to someone about how you’re feeling. Even if you don’t think there’s anything the police can do, they may be able to find a way to help you.

If you’re nervous about talking to the police about what’s happened to you then tell a trusted adult first. Your parents, an older sibling or a teacher can support you. They can help you talk to the police to explain what’s happened.

How do I report a crime?

There are several ways for you to report a crime. If the crime is happening right now and it’s an emergency then you should call 999 and ask for the police.

If it’s not an emergency or the crime has already happened then you should call the police non-emergency number 101. If you would rather talk to someone in person you can go to your local police station. When you go in ask the person at the reception if you can speak to a police officer in private.

You can always ask a friend or an adult you trust to go with you if you’re nervous about speaking to the police.

I’m scared I’ll get hurt if I report a crime. Should I stay quiet?

If you know the person or people who have committed the crime then coming forward can be scary. If you’re worried that they might threaten or hurt you after you’ve reported what happened you should tell the police.

They will be able to provide you with support and make sure that you are safe. If you want to report a crime but stay anonymous then you can use the Crimestoppers Fearless[] service. This allows you to report crime online without having to leave any personal details.

I committed a crime and now I regret it. What can I do?

Sometimes we can get caught up in things we aren’t happy with. It can be hard to get out of a situation when you’re in the middle of it especially if you’re with a group of friends. It’s never ok for your friends to put pressure on you to commit a crime.

But if you have been involved in a crime and feel guilty then you should talk to someone. You may be too scared to go to the police but you should talk to someone you trust. It might be an adult, or it could be a helpline like Childline.

You could try to make amends for what you did. For instance, if you stole something from someone you could give it back to them and apologise. If you are involved in a crime, even as a lookout, then you can still get into a lot of trouble. It’s best to own up if you can.

What is anti-social behaviour?

Cigarette smoke stays in the air and when you spend time around people who smoke you’ll inhale some of this smoke. This is called passive smoking or secondhand smoke. Although passive smoking isn’t as bad for you as smoking it does still have health effects.

If you spend a lot of time around people smoking you will have a higher risk of developing lung cancer, as well as throat cancer. You will also have a higher risk of heart disease, strokes and other lung diseases.

The impact of passive smoking is why it is illegal to smoke in workplaces and inside public buildings. It is also why it’s illegal to smoke in a car with children. If you can avoid spending time around people while they are smoking then you should as this will be better for your health.

Anti-social behaviour (also called ASB) is when a person or group of people behave in way that scares or intimidates other people in public places. It can involve things like:

Being rude or abusive

Being very noisy in places where it will upset other people

Setting off fireworks in the street

Drinking alcohol or taking drugs in a public place

Bullying or threatening someone.

Although you might not feel like what you’re doing is hurting anyone, it can have a negative impact on your community. The police can do various things to deal with antisocial behaviour.

If you are breaking the law with your anti-social behaviour then you could be arrested and charged with a crime.

If you repeatedly commit the same kind of antisocial behaviour the police can issue an anti-social behaviour order – ASBO. This is a court order that’s designed to stop you behaving like that. It might prevent you from being in a certain place. Or it could stop you going near a particular person.

If you break the conditions of your ASBO you could be arrested and the police will take further action against you.

I’ve experienced anti-social behaviour but I think it’s too small to report. Is there anything I can do?

Even if you think that what you’ve experienced is a small incident you should still report it. Often ASB doesn’t just affect one person. It can affect a whole community and you don’t know what ASB other people will have reported.

The more examples of ASB the police can get, the stronger their case will be. It’s normal to feel scared or unsure about reporting ASB. If you aren’t sure how to report what you’ve seen or experienced talk to an adult you trust. They can help you feel safe and give you advice on what to do next.

What happens if you’re arrested?

The police can arrest you if they suspect that you have committed a crime. This means you will be taken to a police station and questioned. If the police have enough evidence they can charge you with a crime.

If you are under 17 then the police will make sure your parent or legal guardian comes to the police station to support you. If the police want to interview you then a guardian or another appropriate adult will need to be with you.

The police are only allowed to hold you for 24 hours without charging you with a crime. If you are suspected of a very serious crime you can be held for 36 hours and this can be extended to 96 hours by a court.

If the police charge you with a crime then they will explain what happens next. It will involve going to court.

In some cases the police can decide not to charge you and to deal with your offence in a different way. For a minor offence they might decide to use an out of court disposal. This is designed to keep young people out of the criminal justice system and support them to reduce the risk of reoffending.

You could receive a reprimand if this is your first offence. You may also be given a final warning if this is not the first time you have been charged.

Will I go to prison if I commit a crime?

You will only go to prison if you commit a serious crime or if you have committed crime many times. The youth justice system does its best to keep young people out of prisons and find other ways of supporting them to change their behaviour.

If your case goes to court you could be ordered to pay a fine. If you are under 16 then your parents or carers will have to pay that money for you.

You might also get a youth rehabilitation or referral order if you are under 17 and admit to committing a crime in court. This means you will go back home but there will be a set of rules you have to follow.

Often this will involve a curfew to make sure you are home by a certain time. It might also affect where you are allowed to go and who you are allowed to see. In some cases you will also have to do some community work. You might also have to meet the victim of your crime and apologise to them.

If you break the conditions of your order then you can be taken back to court and charged again.

What does having a criminal record mean?

You will have a criminal record if you are convicted of a crime or if you receive a caution. A caution can be given to you by the police if you admit to committing a less serious crime. This is instead of being arrested and charged. Although it is not as serious as being charged with a crime, it is still kept on your criminal record.

Having a criminal record can affect what you are able to do in the future. You will usually have to say whether you have a criminal record when you apply for jobs. You may also be asked this if you apply to go to university.

You might not be able to get certain jobs if you have a criminal record. There are also some countries in the world that you won’t be allowed to visit if you have a criminal record.

Did you know?

-12% of children aged 10-15 are estimated to be victims of crime

-There were 981 children in custody in 2015

-Children aged 10-17 made up 10% of all arrests in England and Wales in 2014/15


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When Someone Dies

When Someone Dies

When Someone Dies


It can be difficult to know what to do when someone dies. You’ll feel a range of emotions and understanding your feelings can be hard. Everybody deals with grief differently. There is no right or wrong way for you to feel. And there’s no right or wrong way for you to cope with your grief.

Losing someone you love is really hard. You might feel like you can’t cope or like you’ve lost control. You could feel numb or scared after someone dies. You might feel hopeless and not be able to imagine a happy future.

How you feel might also be affected by how and when the person dies. If it is an unexpected death you are likely to feel shocked. It can take time to come to terms with the idea that the person you care about is gone.

If someone has been ill for a while you may have had time to prepare for the idea of losing them. That doesn’t mean it will hurt less. Just that you might not be so shocked.

All of that is normal. The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to go through this alone. There are people to support you. Friends and family can be a real comfort in difficult times. There are also counsellors and charities who can help you understand and deal with your bereavement.

Many people find it helps to talk about what they are going through. Expressing how you feel is important, so if you feel like you want to cry then you should.

If you’ve lost someone in your family, like a parent or sibling, you might not know who to talk to. You may not want to upset other members of your family by talking to them about how you’re feeling. Don’t feel like you have to bottle your feelings up.

There are helplines you can call where you can talk to someone about what you’re going through. Sometimes just having someone to listen is all you need.

Another way to express your feelings is to write them down. You might find that keeping a journal is helpful. Or you could write your feelings on a piece of paper and then throw it away. Remember the grieving process is different for everyone.

When you are mourning you need to look after yourself. Make sure you’re still eating properly and sleeping. Some people find that doing exercise can help them cope too.  

What happens at a funeral or memorial service?

A funeral or memorial service is a chance to celebrate the life of the person who has died. Sometimes these can be religious but not always. Friends and family of the person who has died will all come together to remember them.

What happens will be different for each person. Sometimes people will get up and share their memories of the person who’s died. Or someone might read a poem that was important to them. Music that the person who’s died liked may also be played in the service.

Although funerals are really sad they are also a good chance to remember all the good things about the person you’ve lost. It can be helpful to talk to other people who knew them. They might be able to tell you stories you didn’t know before. All of that can help you cope with your loss.

After a funeral there is usually something called a wake. This is a gathering where everyone who was at the service can talk and share stories. It’s usually very informal and you can talk as little or as much as you want.

Do I have to go to the funeral?

You don’t have to go to the funeral if you don’t want to. It can be upsetting and it’s understandable if you’re worried about how it will make you feel. But many people find that going to a funeral helps them with their grief.

If you’re not sure you want to go to a funeral you should talk to your family. They might be able to explain what to expect. They could give you some details about the service to help you prepare. That might make it easier for you to go.

If you don’t go to the funeral but decide you want to say goodbye later there are some things you can do. You could visit the person’s grave to lay some flowers. Sometimes talking to the person who’s died can help too.

My friend has just lost someone. How should I treat them? I don’t want to upset them.

If a friend has lost someone they were close to it can be hard to know how to be with them. It’s understandable that you’re worried about upsetting them. The best thing to do is ask them how they’d like you to treat them.

They might want to have someone to talk to. Or they might want you to avoid the subject. Let your friend know that you are there if they want to talk. Just treat them normally. Your friend might want to be distracted to help them get through this difficult time.

I’m worried that I’ll forget the person I’ve lost. What can I do?

You will have lots of wonderful memories of the person you’ve lost. Remembering the happy times you shared is a good way to help you keep them in your life. You could try writing down some of your favourite memories of them so you can always look back at them.

You may also want to create a memory box. This is somewhere you can keep special things that remind you of the person you’ve lost. You could put old letters and birthday cards in there, or photos of you together. You might have trinkets that remind you of them. Your memory box is personal to you. Whenever you want to remember the person, open the box and go through what’s inside.

Some people like to plant a tree in a favourite place. This can give you somewhere to go whenever you want to think about the person who’s died. You might also talk to them there. Having a physical place to go can help you feel connected to them.

Going to visit their favourite place, listening to their favourite music or watching their favourite films are other ways that you can remember someone you’ve lost.

When will I start to feel better?

There is no timeline for grief. No one can tell you when you will feel better. You have to take each day as it comes. Try to remember that the person who has died would want you to be happy. Try to stay positive and don’t feel guilty if you start to feel happy.

Being happy doesn’t mean you don’t care any more. It just means you are starting to move on from the bereavement. As time passes it will start to feel easier. Remember that there is no right or wrong way to deal with grief. You should do whatever helps you get through this difficult time.

I don’t know how to deal with my mum or dad’s birthday now they’re gone.

It’s normal to find special occasions, like birthdays, difficult. These remind you of the person you’ve lost so it’s natural that it will make you feel sad. Different people cope with these events in different ways.

You might want to spend some time alone. Or you may want to be busy and distracted. It might help to visit their grave or a special place to remember them. Talk to your family to see what they want to do too. Doing something together can be a nice way to remember your mum or dad.

Did you know?

-1 in 29 children in the UK has lost a parent or sibling

-There is no timeline for grief, everyone handles loss differently

-Your doctor can help if you are struggling to cope with a death


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When people talk about drugs they usually mean illegal substances that people take for a variety of reasons. Different drugs have different effects but they can change the way you behave or how you feel.

Drugs come in many forms too. Cannabis is often smoked, while ecstasy is usually taken in the form of a pill. Cocaine is normally sold as a powder that you snort and heroin is a solution that a lot users inject.

Some drugs are very addictive and it can be difficult to stop taking them. There are also a lot of risks with taking drugs and some serious health effects.

Because drugs are illegal they are not regulated. That means you can never be sure what’s in them and what you’re taking. Even if you’ve tried something before and been fine, taking it again could affect you in a different way.

There are many effects of taking drugs. What effect they have on your behaviour and mood will depend on the type of drug it is. Drugs can be broadly split into three categories: Stimulants, which make you feel like you have lots of energy.

Depressants, which make you feel relaxed and chilled out.

Hallucinogens, which distort your perception of reality and may make you see things that aren’t there.

Some drugs will have mixed effects and you can experience more than one thing at once. Different people can also react differently to the same drug, so you can’t know how you’ll react the first time you take something.

If you use drugs often they can have a negative effect on your life. They can affect your physical and mental health. You might fall out with your family and friends. You could get behind with your school work. If you’re addicted you might find it hard to cope without drugs and do dangerous things to get your next fix.

There are also long-term side effects on your health if you take drugs regularly. The health effects vary depending on the drug.

Let’s look at cannabis as an example. Regular and heavy cannabis use can increase your risk of developing mental health illnesses like schizophrenia when you get older. Using cannabis regularly can also affect how your brain works. It can make it harder to learn and concentrate. If you smoke cannabis you will also have all the side effects associated with smoking. That includes an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease and other respiratory illnesses.

If you want to learn about the long-term effects of different drugs, take a look at the information provided by Frank. 

What are Class A drugs?

In the UK illegal drugs are divided into three classes. Class A drugs are the substances that have the worst impact on you when you take them and also on society as a whole. Cocaine, heroin, magic mushrooms, ecstasy and LSD are all Class A drugs.

The harshest penalties for drug possession and supplying are for Class A drugs in UK law.

There are also Class B and Class C drugs. These are still illegal but are not considered as harmful as Class A drugs. That doesn’t mean it’s ok to take them. All illegal drugs have serious effects.

Class B drugs include amphetamines, cannabis and codeine. Class C drugs include ketamine, GHB/GBL and anabolic steroids.

My friends say cannabis isn’t that bad. Does that mean it’s ok to try it?

Cannabis is a Class B drug and is illegal. That means it isn’t considered safe. Cannabis use is often associated with feeling relaxed and chilled out, but that isn’t the only effect it has. It can make you hallucinate. Cannabis can also make some people feel anxious or paranoid.

Smoking cannabis regularly when you’re young can affect how you learn. That means you may not do as well at school. It can also mean you aren’t motivated.

There are also strong penalties for having and supplying cannabis. If you are caught with cannabis by the police they will take some action. They will confiscate the drugs and you could face a warning, a formal caution, a fine or even get arrested.

If you give your friends cannabis without taking any money this is still considered supplying. You could get up to 14 years in prison for this.

You shouldn’t let your friends put pressure on you to try any drugs. Just because other people take cannabis doesn’t mean it’s ok. If you’re not comfortable with the situation you should say no and leave.

What’s a legal high? Is it legal to take this kind of drug?

Legal highs are substances that have been produced to give the same or similar effects to illegal drugs. Although it isn’t illegal to possess these drugs it is illegal to sell or supply them. It’s also against the law to advertise them for human consumption.

Don’t let the name ‘legal high’ fool you. These drugs aren’t safe. You also won’t know what’s in the drugs you buy. Some legal highs actually contain illegal substances. They can have serious health risks that are similar to drugs like cocaine and ecstasy.

Taking legal highs can also have serious effects. They might make you excited or paranoid. They can reduce your inhibitions. In some cases they can cause seizures, comas and even death. 

I’m worried about a friend who has started taking drugs. What can I do?

If you’re worried about a friend taking drugs you should start by talking to them about it. Be aware that this may be a sensitive subject for them. They might not want to talk about it. Or they may not believe they have a problem.

Think about how you want to start the conversation. Let them know you are there to support them. Don’t be judgemental when you talk to them. If they won’t listen to you and you’re still worried you should tell someone. Talk to an adult you can trust to get some advice.

You could also try doing things with them or going to places where they won’t be tempted to take drugs.

What’s an overdose?

An overdose is when someone has a bad reaction to a drug. It happens when they take more of the drug than their body can cope with. That means there is no set amount you have to take to experience an overdose. For some people one ecstasy pill can be enough, for example.

The signs of an overdose are different depending on the drug. Drugs like cannabis, ecstasy, LSD and magic mushrooms can make someone very anxious or panicked. People who overdose on ecstasy and speed can also become really hot and dehydrated.

Other substances can make people really drowsy. This can happen if you overdose on heroin, tranquillisers or things like glue or aerosols.

In some cases people fall unconscious when they overdose. If this happens you should call 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance. Put the person in the recovery position while you wait for help to arrive. When the ambulance gets to you tell them what the person has taken and give them any drugs you have left.

An overdose can be very serious and in some cases can lead to death. If you’re worried about someone who’s taken drugs you should get help from an adult. Be honest about what you’ve taken so that they know what they’ll need to do.

I’ve started taking drugs but I want to stop. Will I get into trouble if I ask for help?

Admitting that you have a problem with drug use is an important step. If you’ve decided you want to stop taking drugs there is help out there for you. People will want to support you to stop taking drugs, so you won’t be punished for telling someone that you have a problem and need help.

If you’re worried about how your friends and family will react you can talk to a confidential helpline like Frank. They can give you advice and support about what to do next. The phone lines are available 24/7 so there’s always someone to talk to.

There are some things you can try to help get through your addiction. Get rid of any drugs you have left by flushing them down the toilet. Avoid going to places where you would normally take drugs. That might mean you don’t see some of your friends as much.

Find new hobbies and interests that can distract you from wanting to take drugs. You should also think about why you started taking drugs in the first place. If it was to escape from other issues in your life you should consider speaking to a counsellor about them.

What will happen if I get caught with drugs?

The penalties for drug possession and supply vary depending on the drug. If the police find any drugs on you they will confiscate them. What happens next will depend on: The drug you had How much of the drug there was How old you are Whether you have been in trouble with drugs before.

If it is the first time you are caught with drugs and you don’t have much on you, you may just get a reprimand. The police will call your parents if you’re under 18 too. The police can also give you a fine or a formal caution. They can also arrest you. This can mean you get a criminal record and this can make it difficult when you’re applying for jobs or university when you get older. The penalties for drug possession can be harsh. If you are caught with cannabis and prosecuted you could face up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine.

Did you know?

-24% of 15 year olds have tried drugs at least once

-45% of patients admitted to hospital for poisoning by illegal drugs were aged 16 to 34

-Cannabis is the most commonly used drug among young adults aged 16 to 24


Addaction helps people change their behaviour to become the very best that they can be. It could be their drug or alcohol use or worries about their mental health – we support people to making lasting change in their lives

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About Anxiety

About Anxiety

About Anxiety


Anxiety can affect anyone. It takes a number of forms and different people are affected in different ways. Everyone feels anxious from time to time. This is normal, as it is a natural way of recognising danger. However, it can leave you feeling sad, upset and frustrated when it gets out of control and stops you doing things.

When anxiety starts making you feel like you can’t do things or you feel scared and panicked, you need to talk to someone and get help.

There are many signs of anxiety. Some of them will be things that you think and others will be physical reactions.

You might find you feel dizzy or shaky, feel sick, or feel faint. You could also have trouble sleeping and find it hard to concentrate. Feeling sick might mean you stop eating properly. You could also feel like your heart is beating really fast.

You might think you may go crazy, think about unpleasant things happening or worry that you can’t do something. Often these negative thoughts lead to more negative thoughts, which makes the anxiety worse.

There are three main ways people experience anxiety. The first is generalised anxiety disorder. This means you worry a lot of the time and this worry makes it hard to do everyday things.

The second is phobias. This means you’re scared of something specific and get anxious about that situation or thing. This might mean you feel anxious when you have to take exams or tests.

The third is panic attacks. These happen when you’re feeling extremely anxious and are often unpredictable. They usually only last for about ten minutes but can be very scary. You can find it hard to breathe and feel out of control during a panic attack.

Sometimes people with anxiety have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). OCD is related to anxiety and means you become obsessed by certain thoughts and actions. You might constantly think about bad things happening to the people you love. Or you may feel like you need to do certain rituals like counting things or repeatedly washing your hands.

Often people with OCD find that carrying out their rituals makes them feel better for a little while. The symptoms of OCD can be quite mild, or they can be serious and stop you being able to do everyday things.

There are lots of things you can do to help with anxiety, panic attacks and OCD.


There is no single reason people feel anxious. You could be worried about a specific thing, like exams, or you might feel anxious all the time. You might have what’s called social anxiety, which means you get very nervous when you’re with a group of people you don’t know very well.  

The important thing is to know you’re not alone. Even if you feel like it’s hard to explain how you feel, talking to someone will help. You shouldn’t blame yourself for feeling anxious. But if it’s making your life hard or stopping you doing things you need to get some support. 


The first thing to do is talk to someone you trust. It might be one of your parents, a teacher, a school nurse or even an older brother or sister. Speaking to your doctor is also a good idea. They will be able to give you advice about local support groups, therapy and medication.

Remember that everyone’s anxiety is different and your doctor will suggest the best treatment for you. They might prescribe you antidepressant medication called a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). This can help you feel calmer and see things differently.

Your doctor might also recommend cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This is a talking therapy that’s designed to help you understand your feelings, thoughts and behaviour. Your therapist will help you learn how to think differently about things. You might also learn relaxation techniques. Usually a CBT course runs for around four months, with hour-long sessions on a weekly basis.


There are some self-help techniques that can help you cope with anxiety. Learning basic breathing techniques can help you calm down if you’re feeling anxious. Doing exercise can improve your mood and might make you feel better. Your doctor may also recommend some books to read. Often these will be based on CBT techniques and can teach you some ways of dealing with your anxiety.

Talking to someone you trust about how you feel is one of the best ways to cope with anxiety. If you find talking about your feelings hard, write them down and show them to someone. Always remember that it’s ok to ask for help.


Panic attacks can be scary, but you need to try and stay calm. Remind yourself that you’re just having a panic attack and that it’s not something more serious. Focus on your breathing by taking deep, slow breaths. Try counting to three as you breathe in and out to help regulate your breathing. You can also focus on something that you can see that’s non-threatening. This will help you focus your attention away from your fear.

You could also try a technique called creative visualisation. This means focusing on positive thoughts and images instead of the negative ones. Try to think of a place or situation that makes you feel relaxed or peaceful. Once you have that in your mind, focus on it. Creative visualisation can take practice so you may need to work at it.


If you’re worried about a friend who gets anxious, make sure they know they can talk to you. Be kind to them and offer support. Understand that talking about anxiety can be difficult, so don’t pressure your friend into talking about it if they’re not ready.

If they do open up to you ask them how you can help make them feel less anxious. You should also support them to seek help from a doctor or therapist if they aren’t already. It can help to learn more about anxiety so that you can understand how they might be feeling.

Encourage them to do things with you, like outdoor activities and exercise, and just spend time with them. Knowing that they have a supportive friend will make a difference.


Most of us get stressed when we’re taking exams, but if you become overly anxious about exams you need to get some help. Exam stress can mean you don’t study enough or that you miss exams completely because you get too anxious about them.

You might also feel very anxious during the exam itself. This can make your mind go blank or mean you start feeling as though everyone else taking the exam is finding it easy while you’re finding it really hard.

If you’re feeling overly stressed about your exams, talk to your parents or close friends. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Simple things like eating properly, getting a good night’s sleep and doing regular exercise can all help lower your stress levels.

Planning your revision can also help you manage your anxiety. Knowing that you’re prepared will help you feel more confident about the exam. When you’re planning your revision make sure you also include breaks where you can relax as studying all the time isn’t the answer.

Did you know?

-1 in 6 young people will experience an anxiety condition at some point in their lives

-Anxiety and depression are the most common mental health difficulties in 16-18 year olds

-About 75% of anxiety sufferers don’t get any kind of professional help


Anxiety UK is a national registered charity formed in 1970 by someone living with agoraphobia for those affected by anxiety disorders. Today we are still a user-led organisation, run by people with experience of living with anxiety or anxiety-based depression, supported by a high-profile medical advisory panel.

We’re the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. Find out more about us, our mission and how we work

The Wave Project started in 2010 as a voluntary group funded by the National Health Service in Cornwall. The initial aim was to use volunteers to provide one-to-one surfing lessons for young people with mental health issues as a way of getting them outside, doing physical exercise and feeling more confident about themselves.The first project achieved outstanding results.

No Panic is a registered charity which helps people who suffer from Panic Attacks, Phobias, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders and other related anxiety disorders including those people who are trying to give up Tranquillizers. No Panic also provides support for the carers of people who suffer from anxiety disorders. Severe anxiety and phobic disorders are a major and widespread problem. Recent surveys indicate that they affect up to 18% of the population of the United Kingdom.

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Please be aware that this is NOT for emergency help. CLICK HERE for information on emergency help.

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Emotional Wellbeing

Emotional Wellbeing

Emotional Wellbeing


Your mental health is as important as your physical health. There are a wide range of pressures on young people these days. Doing well at school, being part of a family, making friends and being on social media can all be stressful as well as fun.

More and more young people are developing mental health problems as they grow up. These can range from eating disorders to depression and anxiety. Taking care of your emotional wellbeing can help you develop resilience and be happier and more confident as you get older.

Mental wellbeing is about more than just feeling happy. It’s about having engagement with the people around you. It’s about enjoying life and being confident. It’s about being content with yourself and where you are in life.

Taking care of your emotional wellbeing doesn’t mean you won’t experience difficult things in your life. What it does mean is that when you do go through hard times you will have the resilience you need to cope.

Research has found five things we should all be doing to boost our emotional wellbeing.

Connect: This means developing strong relationships with other people. That can be family members, friends or others in your community. When you have strong relationships you will have support and people to share your feelings with. It’s also important to share positive experiences with other people in your life.

Be active: There is a lot of research that shows doing regular physical activity reduces feelings of anxiety and depression. It can help improve your confidence and the chemicals released by our brains when we are active can make our mood more positive. There are loads of ways to be active. Find something you enjoy and build it into your life.

Learn: You might feel like you’re always learning at the moment. When you’re at school or college learning is a big part of your life. It’s important to keep that as you get older. Learning something new doesn’t have to mean getting more qualifications or studying. It can be picking up a new hobby, learning to fix something at home, or reading a new book.

Give: Giving to others can do a lot for your mental wellbeing. You might offer your time or support to someone else. It could even be something as small as telling someone they look nice today. Acts of kindness will make you feel good about yourself and help the other person, so they’re win-win. Helping someone with a project, holding a door open and spending time with a friend who is having a hard time all count.

Be mindful: Being mindful is all about taking notice of the world around you. It is also about understanding how you feel and what you’re thinking at a given moment. Developing this awareness is often referred to as mindfulness. Taking five minutes each day to just observe can be really good for you. Notice all the sights, smells and sounds around you. Be aware of any thoughts you’re having without judging them.

I’m shy. How can I make new friends?

Starting a friendship can feel like a challenge sometimes. This is especially true if you have recently moved schools and everyone else seems to know each other. The best way to start a friendship is to find something you have in common with the other person. You might like the same music, play the same sport or even walk the same way to school.

Start by talking to that person about something you know they’re interested in. Pick a time when they’re on their own and not in a big group so you feel less nervous. When you go up to them smile. And if someone new comes over to you make sure you smile as well.

Remember that friendships take time and effort. But having a conversation with someone can open the door for you to talk more and become friends over time. It’s ok to be nervous about talking to someone new. The more you do it, the easier it will become. But it’s not about the number of friends you have. Making connections to help your mental wellbeing is about the quality of those friendships. 

I don’t enjoy sports at school. How can I be more active?

The kind of sports you play at school won’t be for everyone. But the great thing is that there are so many ways to be active. The key is to find something you enjoy. Think about what you like and dislike about the sports you’ve tried. You should also think about any other hobbies you have. If you love music, dancing could be a better activity than football for you. Check out what’s available through your local youth club to see what other options you have.

If you have a dog at home you could volunteer to walk it a couple of times a week. Even making small changes like going up the stairs instead of taking the lift can make a difference. Or you could get off the bus a few stops early and walk the last part of your journey.  

To help improve your emotional wellbeing you should try to spend 30 minutes doing moderate exercise five days a week. This means that you’re raising your heart rate and breaking a sweat but that you can still talk while you’re exercising.

School isn’t my thing. How else can I learn?

At your age you will be learning a lot all the time. Remember that learning isn’t only what you can read in textbooks or hear in classrooms. Learning something new could mean learning how to plait your hair or mastering a new trick on your skateboard.

Once you leave school you can feel like you don’t have the chance to learn new things. But there are lots of ways you can keep learning. It could be picking up a new hobby like knitting. You can get to grips with basic DIY like how to put up a shelf, or make a new recipe and develop your cooking skills.

If you try something new with your friends it can also be a good way to build lasting friendships.

Why does giving improve your mental wellbeing?

Giving something, no matter how small, makes you feel good about yourself. Developing positive mental wellbeing is about feeling good within yourself. When you do something nice for another person the response you get will make you happy.

This doesn’t mean you have to spend all your free time doing good deeds. Big gestures are great but small acts of kindness are good for your emotional wellbeing too. They can include helping someone who’s struggling to get on the bus, holding a door open for the person walking behind you, or picking up something that someone’s dropped.  

If you want to do more you can always volunteer in your local community. There are all kinds of charities that need help. Don’t forget that giving can also include supporting your friends or family. Listening to a friend’s problems or helping your younger brother with homework all count.

I’m worried about my emotional wellbeing, what should I do?

If you often feel low then remember that you are not alone. We all go through times when things feel difficult. With the right support you will start to feel better. Try reaching out to a friend. Talk to them about how you’re feeling.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend you could speak to an adult you trust, like a teacher. You could also go to see your doctor if you are feeling depressed. Speaking to a counsellor on a helpline like Childline may also help. Sometimes talking about problems and feelings can help you understand them.

However you’re feeling, it’s ok to ask for help. You shouldn’t feel like you have to go through hard times alone. If you do have a mental health problem like depression or anxiety, the sooner it is diagnosed the better support you can get.

Did you know?

-75% of mental health problems start before someone turns 18

-Rates of depression and anxiety among teenagers have increased by 75% in the past 25 years

-1 in 10 children and young people experience mental health problems


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