Wellbeing & self-care tips for children & young people

In a time of change, loss and worry for young people  – prioritising personal emotional well-being is incredibly important. It’s fair to say 2020 was a shock to us all, a time of change, and may have caused a feeling of uncertainty about the future. But there’s loads of things we can all do to look after our mental wellbeing, and taking any time you can for self-care is massively important, especially now.

To help promote this message to the young people of Leeds, we invited children and young people to produce the ultimate personal well-being kit as part of a competition during #ChildrensMentalHealthWeek 2021. The competition brief was: People forget to take time out to enjoy the things they want to enjoy and that make us happy  – so designing what you think is the ultimate guide to personal well-being for a young person/child in Leeds would be brilliant. 

A massive thank you to Swillington Primary School in Leeds for not only sponsoring the prize but to their year 6 pupils for judging the competition and choosing the winner. We are also working with Balfour Beatty and winners from this competition series will be invited to leave their winning entry or something of their choice in a time capsule that will be going in the ground in Leeds on their new road developments. 

WINNER: Samuel, Roundhay School, Age 12

The young judges from Swillington Primary School said they chose Samuel as their winner as:

“It was clear and stood out; It had a variety of ideas; We loved the colour themes; It had the WOW factor; The activities lasted for 30 days to make sure the person felt happy every day; It used IT, which was outside of the box; We like that the circle, rectangle and triangle always had similar features in to make it clear for the reader. It is a 10/10 for us!”


We received so many fantastic ideas of well-being guides and toolkits and wanted to share our top ten entries. A massive thank you to all those who took part and shared their wonderful ideas. Self-care is very important and by sharing these here, we hope many children and young people will feel inspired and use these tips and maybe even create their own toolkit.


Mental health & emotional well-being support for children and young people

Cllr Fiona Venner, Leeds Executive Board Member for Children and Families said; “We know that a lot of children and young people will be feeling really anxious with everything that’s going on with the coronavirus outbreak. Some may find it easier to talk to their family or friends, others may find it easier to access some support to help with their mental wellbeing. We want them to know there is support available to them if they feel like they need it through the MindMate website.” (see below).

The website provides mental health and emotional wellbeing advice and information for children and young people across Leeds. It has a page specifically on coronavirus and how children and young people can look after their mental wellbeing during this difficult time. It also includes a resource section for young people as well as for parents and carers.


MindMate website

The website provides mental health and emotional wellbeing advice and information for children and young people across Leeds.

  • how they can look after their wellbeing as well as where they can go for support
  • resources for young people
  • resources for parent and carers
  • what support they can access if they’re in a crisis or need urgent help

Leeds MindMate SPA (Singe Point of Access) is a service run by the NHS that helps children and young people find support with their mental health. If you are a young person aged 13-17 with a Leeds GP (doctor) you can ask MindMate SPA for help in finding the right support service for you. If you’re under 13 you’ll need an adult to fill out the form with you. Call 0300 555 0324 or refer online – https://self-referral.mindmate.org.uk/


Self-care tips for young people

Knowing what steps we can take to support our mental wellbeing can help us feel better, sleep better and have better relationships with the people around us – and that goes not just for today but for the future too. Watch some fantastic videos and view their resources here.


Self-care, Anxiety, Depression, On my mind, Coping strategies

Self-care is about the things we can do to look after our own mental health. Young people told the experts at Anna Freud that when they are struggling they are usually told to see a professional. They don’t often get much advice about how they could help themselves. So, they spoke to professionals and looked at academic research. Then they drew up a list of strategies young people use (you can see the process in this self-care infographic). 


Kooth – free online counselling

Kooth has been commissioned by NHS Leeds CCG from December 2018 and is a free, safe and anonymous service for 11-18 year olds where young people can chat 1-2-1 with counsellors, access self-help articles 24/7 and connect with peers through live moderated forums. Young people can access Kooth directly. 10 – 18 year olds can chat 1-2-1 with counsellors, access self-help articles 24/7 and connect with peers through live moderated forums.


Teen Connect – service provided by Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Service and The Market Place

Teen Connect provides out of hours support for young people in Leeds (11-18years) who feel they are in mental health crisis.  Open 6p.m. – 2a.m. every night of the year – young people can call or get online support. Provided by Leeds Survivor Led Crisis Services in partnership with The Market Place.


Calm Harm app

The Calm Harm app has been customised for young people in Leeds aged 12 – 25 years.

It helps to resist the urge to self-harm, it has a number of activities including breathing techniques to help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety.


Think Ninja – Empowering young people to manage their emotional health

ThinkNinja is an app specifically designed to educate 10-18 year olds about mental health, emotional wellbeing and to provide skills young people can use to build resilience and stay well.


Click the image for links to fun and creative ideas for families during lockdown.

Click the image for links to free educational resources and learning tools.

As we’re in lockdown 3.0, below are some links to guidance, health advice and support.

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