The organisations behind Best For You are really excited to be supporting Children’s Mental Health Week 2023. It’s a great chance to share more about the importance of young people’s wellbeing, and how the NHS and its partners are working together to offer support.
This year, the theme of Children’s Mental Health Week is ‘Let’s connect’.
All of us need positive connections with others for our wellbeing – whether we have a mental health condition or not. Throughout the week, we’ll be sharing tips for making connections, including information on how Best For You makes it easier for young people to access support.
We hope you’ll stay tuned and help spread the word about Best For You on social media.
Connecting with others through art
Art can be a really powerful way to form connections between people. Best For You is able to embrace opportunities to connect with art and creativity because it works with other organisations with arts expertise.
CW+, one of the organisations behind Best For You, has an award-winning Arts in Health programme, which includes Arts for All: a programme that provides people in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and West Middlesex University Hospital meaningful opportunities to engage with arts. The opportunities Arts for All provides help patients and staff to make social connections and improve their wellbeing.
CW+ share their knowledge and experience with Best For You so young people can access arts opportunities too. They provide creative activities through their online Virtual Connections programme, and supported two artists, Anna Jane Houghton and Carlos Penalver, to create digital arts workshops especially for Best For You.
The Children’s Mental Health Week website also has some creative activities you can try to build connections with others, including an activity about making paperchains and an activity around postcards.
Connecting with real people – without speaking face-to-face
We know that positive connections with others are important for wellbeing – but we also know that it can be difficult to find the right person to talk to, especially when it comes to mental health (or if you’re really struggling in the middle of the night).
Best For You provides young people with opportunities to talk to real people at any time of day, including if you don’t want to talk to someone you know or speak face-to-face.
Young people can always text NATTER to 85258 to message a trained volunteer. The service is free, confidential, and anonymous. You can read more about NATTER in this blog of NATTER FAQs.
The NHS also provides 24-hour urgent mental health helplines across England for people who are in crisis.
If you’re in Brent, Harrow, Hillingdon, Kensington and Chelsea, or Westminster, you can call or email the CNWL Single Point of Access. The person who answers your call of email will asl you some questions to find out what’s going on so they can help you find the best service to support you and your recovery. The CNWL Single Point of Access is open to people of all ages, including people who have not used a mental health service before.
If you’re a young person in Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, or Hounslow and you’re worried about your mental health, you can call the West London Speak CAMHS helpline. It’s open from 8am to 11pm on weekdays (Monday to Friday) and from 12pm to 8pm on the weekends. If you’re in crisis, you can call outside of these hours and your call will be passed to an out of hours person at CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).
If you’re outside these boroughs, you can search for your local 24-hour urgent mental health helpline on the NHS website.
Connecting with support across north-west London
There are lots of services, organisations, and projects across north-west London that support young people’s health and wellbeing – but we know it can be overwhelming to make sense of everything out there.
Best For You has pages for each borough in north-west London: Brent, Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Kensington and Chelsea, and Westminster.
These pages help young people connect young people with the support they need in their area. They have information about NHS mental health support, mental health support provided by other organisations, support for specific things (such as bereavement, gambling, being LGBTQ+, or being a young carer).
Connecting with digital wellbeing tools
As well as in-person support in their local area, young people can access digital mental health support through Best For You. Best For You provides information and links to trustworthy, safe digital tools to help connect young people with the support that’s right for them.
Of course, digital wellbeing tools don’t replace the need for connection with other people. Some digital offers, like Kooth, have the option for young people to engage with one-to-one chat through the platform. Other tools are designed to be used as part of a bigger package of support, alongside talking to friends and family, using the NATTER text line, and making the most of NHS and other organisations offering support.
Best For You connects young people with tried-and-tested apps through the Best For You app library, created in partnership with ORCHA (the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps). Young people, parents and carers, and professionals can search the library by condition or symptoms or view lists of top-rated apps. Professionals can also recommend relevant apps straight to young people.
Best For You also spreads the word that Kooth is available to young people across London (and in other parts of the UK). Kooth has helpful content (including articles, personal experiences, and tips from young people), friendly discussion boards, and a daily journal feature. Young people can also message or live chat with Kooth’s team.
Connecting with others in your life
Best For You is also here to share information and advice with young people through this website and social media channels.
For Children’s Mental Health Week, we’re sharing tips for connecting with others in healthy, rewarding, and meaningful ways.
Continuing to connect with Best For You
We’re really pleased that young people’s mental health has been at the forefront of people’s minds this week – but we also know that mental health problems don’t disappear at the end of seven days of awareness
Best For You will still be here, sharing information and resources to connect young people to relevant support and break down stigma around mental health.
Join us on social media and help us spread the word.