Do you need to speak with someone right now?
At Bright Paths, our mission is to provide early help and support to equip young people with the tools they need to thrive. While we focus on proactive strategies for growth and development, it’s important to note that we do not provide crisis support. If you feel the need to speak with someone immediately, either for yourself or someone you care for, please refer to the list of useful telephone numbers and websites below.
For immediate assistance, explore the links provided. However, if you’re seeking information regarding a specific concern, we recommend Young Minds’ comprehensive A-Z guide. Covering a wide range of topics related to children’s mental health, this guide offers practical advice and insights for parents in need.
UK support options
Crisis Text Line
Who and how: Offers free, confidential support via text message for individuals experiencing crisis or emotional distress. Trained Crisis Counselors provide empathetic listening and guidance.
- Text HOME to 85258 for a trained Crisis Counselor
- Crisis Text Line website
Hopeline UK / Papyrus UK
Who and how: Offers support and suicide prevention for young people under 35 who are at risk of suicide or experiencing suicidal thoughts. Provides confidential helpline and text support.
Mon-Fri 12am-10pm / Sat-Sun 6am-10pm
Who and how: Provides online mental health and emotional well-being support for young people aged 11-25. Offers counselling, self-help resources, and peer-to-peer support.
Who and how: Offers free, confidential support via text message for individuals in crisis or experiencing overwhelming emotions. Trained volunteers provide immediate assistance and guidance.
- Text SHOUT to 85258
- Shout website
Young Minds Crisis Messenger
Who and how: Provides free, confidential crisis support via text message for young people experiencing mental health crises or emotional distress.
- Text YM to 8525
- Young Minds Crisis Messenger website
Young Minds Parents Helpline
Who and how: Offers support and guidance to parents and caregivers concerned about their children's mental health and well-being. Provides advice, information, and signposting to relevant resources.
Did you know...
Mental health problems affect 1 in 6 children in the UK
If not treated, this can severely impact their quality of life.
There is an ongoing stigma in admitting to and seeking help with mental health issues. Many also assume their anxiety, depression – and negative and limiting thoughts are a normal part of everyday life.
Whilst it is unrealistic to suppose a person can be happy 100% of the time, it is equally unreasonable to expect them to be unhappy for the majority of their time.
Whilst there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution we tend to find that the following strategies are helpful in improving mood in young people (and adults):
Human evolution has taught us that we are a social species and are not meant to exist in a vacuum. Try to connect with people you love and care about. By doing this the people around you feel valued and your relationships with them is strengthened. Often we hear people say:
“I don’t want to bother them with my problems.”
“I’m strong enough to handle it myself.”
These are assumptions we often make. Strength comes from sharing problems with those who can make a difference and help you move forward.
Of course connecting with people does not have to be a deep and meaningful discussion about what is on your mind. Make time to watch a movie, discuss a book, go for a walk, play a game or if you can’t meet in person engage in a social activity over zoom – maybe even call a friend and say hi.
We are a habitual species. Many people tend to do the same activities day in day out. Internally we get a sense of safety from the familiar and avoid moving toward something new.
Take a close look at what you are doing throughout the day. Does it give you feelings of joy and happiness? Do you feel better connected with the world and more complete as a person?
If not, it may be time to listen to the old saying:
“Life begins outside the comfort zone.”
Think of all the activities that you can be doing either on your own or with someone else and try a few. These could be:
- Doing a workout
- Reading a book
- Playing board games
- Doing a sporting activity
- Doing crafts
- Learning a new skill
Because you are hardwired to gravitate towards the familiar you may find that the longer you spend considering doing something new the less chance you have in actually doing it.
Try this –
When you decide to do something, clench your fist, nod and get up to start doing the activity within 5 seconds of it entering your head. The more you do that, the closer you will get to achieve your goal.
When people, young and old, feel anxious or depressed it is not uncommon for them to shut the curtains, leave their living space a mess and retreat under the cover of darkness. It leaves a very clear message:
“Go away. Do not disturb!”
If we dig a little however, the message we are often avoiding is:
“No, I’m not happy but I fear the unknown. At least I am familiar with this dark and depressing cave that I have constructed.”
Sunshine provides you with vitamin D and just as important is the psychological benefit. By simply opening your curtains and letting the sunshine in you are sending a message to your psyche:
“Time for me to stand up, join the world and be the person I always wanted to be.”
Imagine running a car constantly, never look after it, never stop – just keep it running.
How long do you think that car would last?
Eventually the engine would overheat and many other problems would surface that hinder your cars performance till eventually your car stops working altogether.
Your body is just a machine and your machine relies on you taking time to rest for it to recharge and recuperate. If you don’t do this – well, see the above car example.
That doesn’t mean go to the gym every day, run a marathon or compete in Wimbledon. Being active means something different to everyone. It could be to go for a short walk, walk around your house more, dance or doing a 15 minute workout at home.
When you exercise you release endorphins known as ‘happy hormones’ which promote a general feeling of wellbeing and can leave you feeling energized and ready to take on the day ahead.
Do you ever eat a McDonald’s or order a pizza and feel lethargic and tired afterward?
What we put in our body greatly affects our sleeping pattern and mood afterwards.
You wouldn’t put cheap oil and fuel in the tank of an expensive car, yet many of us are more than content to survive on cola, crisps, chocolate and burgers. It is nice, of course to occasionally eat take away food, but consider what foods you can eat that wont significantly increase your fat levels and will leave you with the right vitamins and minerals.
Put yourself first and treat yourself to foods that will improve your quality of life.
Now, this does not mean sitting cross-legged and chanting ‘ohmmm’ for eight hours a day (unless you want to do this of course).
Millions of people all over the world practice meditation. It helps alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety and can even calm panic attacks.
Did you know...
You are amazing!
There is nothing wrong with you; you are amazing. Your body is dedicated to making sure that you can survive in even the most challenging of environments. You have developed patterns of thinking and behaviour at an early age, perhaps to avoid a dangerous or overly stressful situation. But as time passes, those patterns can become outdated and no longer serve you.
This is perfectly normal.
But, with the right strategies, you can have a normal life, experience pleasure and learn to cope with painful situations as they arise.