Best For You


Mental health support for young people in Westminster

Lots of different services and organisations in Westminster offer support for young people. This page contains information about all of the different ways to get support.

 

If you need urgent help, for example because you’re in crisis:

Two young people, one wearing a beanie and one with shoulder-length hair. Text reads ‘It’s OK to say that you’re not OK’. One of the people has a skateboard, the other has lines around their head with the words ‘anxious’ and ‘sad’.

 

How to use this page

 

This page has a lot of information about different ways to access mental health support. It is split into different sections:

 

Accessing NHS mental health support 

For information about NHS mental health services in Westminster.

 

Other mental health support

For information about non-NHS organisations who offer free mental health support for young people in Westminster.

 

Support for specific things

For organisations that are experts at supporting young people in specific things, for example, supporting young people who have experienced bereavements or who are LGBTQ+ or seeking asylum.

 

Youth groups and other activities

Because we know that spending time with other people doing things you enjoy is good for your mental health.

 

Accessing NHS mental health support

 

You can make an appointment with your GP to talk about mental health. GP stands for ‘general practitioner’ – they’re doctors who have done extra training to be able to treat common medical conditions and refer people to other services for more specialist treatment or support. You can find out more about GPs (and how to register with one) on the NHS website.

 

Your GP can refer you to Westminster CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

 

As well as the Core CAMHS Team, you might be able to see people from:

Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea Early Intervention Service

This service is for people between the ages of 14 to 35 who are experiencing their first episode of psychosis. People who think they need help from this service should speak to their GP and ask them to make a referral.

Find out more about Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea Early Intervention Service. 

Central and North West London Community Eating Disorder Service for Children and Young People

This service supports children and young people aged 17 or under. They support young people with eating disorders and young people who have suspected eating disorders (if a young person or an adult in their life thinks they may have an eating disorder). People can refer themselves to this service, they can also speak to their school, college, or GP and ask them for a referral. 

Find out more about CNWL Community Eating Disorder Service for Children and Young People.

 

Other mental health support

 

Counselling at The Mix (UK wide service)

The Mix offers up to eight sessions of free phone or online counselling to young people living in the UK who are aged 25 and under. You can get in touch yourself using a form on their website. Find out more about counselling at The Mix on their website.

Mentoring at the Julian Campbell Foundation

The Julian Campbell Foundation offers a mentoring programme for young people aged between 11 and 25 who are struggling to manage their mood or need some extra support to deal with emotional or stressful situations. You don’t need a diagnosis to be part of the mentoring programme. You can get in touch yourself by emailing them.

Find out more about the Julian Campbell Foundation on their website.

Creative arts through Arts for Life Project

Arts For Life Project is based on the Harrow and Hillingdon border, but accepts referrals from throughout London and surrounding areas.

Arts for Life Project offer one-to-one, person-centred therapeutic support for young people aged between 6 and 25. Anyone aged 16 and above can refer a young person through an online form.

Creative Crew is a weekly project for young people aged 6 and above who love the arts and are able to engage in a group setting. It allows young people to engage with the therapeutic power of the arts within a group. Through fun, relaxed activities, young people develop emotional intelligence and strengthen mental health. Anyone aged 16 and above can refer a young person through an online form.

Skills For Life is a course-based programme that helps young people aged 6 to 25 develop essential life skills, including technical, physical, wellbeing, and communication skills. Young people are put into suitable groups for the programme. Anyone aged 16 and above can refer a young person through an online form.

Together Thrive uses three different types of support to help young people aged 8 and above with complex challenges (including mental health concerns) progress back into society. It includes support at home, clinical therapeutic support, and mentor support. Young people aged 14 and above can refer themselves through the online form; parents and professionals can also refer through the same form.

The project also has programmes for parents and carers.

Find out more about Arts For Life Project on their website.

Befriending through Family Friends UK

Family Friends UK offer a service called Big Buddies. A volunteer befriender supports a young people aged between 10 and 18 for a few hours each week (or fortnight) for around three to six months.

Young people have an equal voice in deciding how they want to spend this time. Some young people choose to try fun activities (such as sport or museum trips), get help with homework, get help with applications, or try new things.

Family Friends UK also offer family befriending, where a volunteer provides whole family support to a family experiencing multiple hardships. They aim to help families discover their strengths, build confidence, and resolve difficulties.

Find out more about volunteer befriending and how to access this service on the Family Friends UK website.

Arts therapy through Dream Arts’ Express Plus and Family Express

Express Plus is Dream Arts’ dedicated arts therapy service for children and young people aged between 7 and 18 (up to 25 years old if the young person has a special educational need or is disabled).

They offer individual, parent-child, or family therapy (this does depend on therapist availability). They offer 6 initial sessions, with a maximum of 18 sessions in total.

Family Express is a project for families who want to engage in creative activities, strengthen family bonds, and engage with one another in new ways.

Young people and families can refer themselves to both of these services.

Find out more on the Dream Arts website.

 

Support for specific topics

 

Bereavement

Grief Encounter (bereavement)

Grief Encounter offer up to 30 one to one weekly counselling sessions. The sessions can be at school, online, or at their centre in North London (NW7). They do not accept referrals for grandparent-related bereavement(s) unless the grandparent who died was a primary caregiver. You can get in touch about counselling yourself through an online form.

They also offer workshops, a residential retreat, fun days, and a choir. You can contact them about these by email.

Grief Encounter have a confidential phone helpline and online chat that is open from 9am to 9pm on weekdays.

Find out more about Grief Encounter on their website.

Winston’s Wish (bereavement – UK wide service)

Winston’s Wish offer one-off or ongoing advice, guidance, and bereavement support for young people up to the age of 25 (and their families). They have a helpline, which is open between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.

They also have online peer support groups (for young people aged between 7 and 12, for young people aged between 13 and 17, and for young people aged between 18 and 25, as well as for parents and carers), which are overseen by Bereavement Support Practitioners. They’re informal; young people can just go to one or keep going every month. You can get in touch and book a space on these yourself through the Winston’s Wish website.

Winston’s Wish also run drop-in sessions that give families and professionals the chance to to find out more about their services. These were suspended due to COVID but are beginning to restart. You can find details on the Winston’s Wish website.

Bullying

Zap through Kidscape (for young people aged 9 to 16 who have experienced bullying)
ZAP is a free workshop for children and young people aged between 9 and 16 who have been affected by bullying. ZAP aims to boost confidence and self-esteem and give young people assertiveness skills.  
 
The workshops are currently taking place online. A young person’s parent or carer needs to attend with them; there is a separate workshop for parents and carers. 
 

Criminal exploitation and county lines

St Giles Trust (for young people who are criminally exploited; have families in need of support with poverty, housing, gang involvement, or substance misuse; or have a parent in prison – UK wide service)

St Giles Trust offer community-based support for young people who are involved in gangs, serious violence, and offending. They also have services for children who have a parent in prison, for families affected by gangs, and for families experiencing poverty.

You can get in touch yourself by filling out a form on the St Giles Trust website.

Rescue and Response (for young people involved in or affected by county line activity)

Rescue and Response is delivered in partnership between four organisations and is funded across London by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime.

It involves one to one support, specialist support for young women, and family and housing support. The service includes a structured programme around topics like healthy relationships, violence against women and girls, identity and equality, trama, and safety planning. Professionals can refer through an online form.

Find out more about Rescue and Response on the Abianda website.

Young Women’s Service at Womens and Girls Network (for young women* who have experienced or are at risk of gendered violence)

This service is for young women aged between 11 and 18 (up to 21 for care leavers) who have experienced (or are at risk of) any form of gendered violence, including domestic violence, sexual violence, child sexual exploitation, gang associated violence, forced marriage, and so on.

The service welcomes trans and intersex young women. It also welcomes non-binary young people who feel the service would best meet their needs and experiences.

They offer advocacy, group work, and counselling.

Find out more about Women and Girls Network.

Only Connect (for people who have been released from prison)

Only Connect offer keyword support to people who are released from prison to help make the transition of leaving prison as smooth as possible. They support people with things like employment, housing, and opportunities to help them remain crime-free.

Find out more about Only Connect.

London Gang Exit (for young people who are affected, associated, or affiliated with gang related issues or serious youth violence)

This service is designed to complement existing local services and fill gaps in provision. It provides traditional one-to-one, confidential support to young people aged between 16 and 24 who are associated with or involved in gangs and are at significant risk of harm from gang activity, or pose risk to themselves or others. They consider referrals outside the age range on a case-by-case basis. 

LGE empowers young people to move away from gang lifestyles. Young people must be motivated to end their gang involvement and willing to work with the service. 

Young people can refer themselves. Family members, carers, friends, and other organisations can also refer young people. 

Find out more about London Gang Exit.

Gambling

GamCare Young People’s Service (gambling – UK wide service)

GamCare’s Young People’s Service can support anyone in the UK aged 18 and under. They can support people who are experiencing harm (or at risk of experiencing harm) because of gambling – this includes young people who are gambling themselves and young people who are affected by someone else’s gambling.

They provide information, advice, and guidance; self-help tools; and interventions. You can get in touch yourself by phone, email, or the form on their website.

Find out more on the GamCare website.

LGBTQ+

Mosaic LGBT+ young persons’ trust (for people who are LGBTQ+)

Mosaic run a weekly youth club for LGBTQ+ people aged 18 and under. Part of this is a Culture Club, with discounted or free trips that give young people the chance to explore their identity or learn about LGBT+ culture. They also offer retreats.

Young people can talk to mentors: older LGBT+ people with similar lived experiences. Mentoring helps you to better manage practical issues (like relationships, family, or school). You do not have to be part of Youth Club to speak to a mentor, and you do not need permission from a parent or carer.

Mosaic also offer online counselling with counsellors who identify as LGBT+. Counselling helps you understand your emotions and experiences, and teaches you about tools and strategies that can help you manage.

You can get in touch yourself through a form on their website, or you can contact them by email or phone. Mosaic make sure that financial difficulties never block access to their services.

Find out more on their website.

The Proud Trust (for people who are LGBTQ+ – UK wide service)

The Proud Trust is based in Manchester but has an online web chat. You can also use their website to find your nearest LGBT+ Youth Group.

Find out more on the Proud Trust website.

Migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers

Young Roots (for refugees and asylum seekers)

Young Roots supports refugees and asylum seekers in Brent* who are aged between 11 and 25.  They have some groups for young women only to provide a safe space for those who feel less comfortable accessing mixed-gender activities.

They run an advice and support hub with youth and sporting activities alongside one to one casework support, access to legal advice, and access to counselling. They also offer support with English language skills and trips for young refugees.

You can get in touch yourself through a form on their website. You can also email or phone them. Find out more about Young Roots on their website.

* and neighbouring boroughs

Freedom From Torture (for survivors of torture – UK wide service)

Freedom From Torture offers trauma-focused therapy to help with the effects of trauma, including complex trauma, depression, and other mental health needs. They also offer further services, including creative group activities, social groups, and physical therapy to help survivors rebuild their lives. They offer practical advice for survivors who are seeking asylum.

You can get in touch yourself by filling out a form on the Freedom from Torture website.

Creative support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people through Dream Arts

Dream Arts run a project called Friends from Afar for unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people who live, work, study, or access services in Westminster.

Friends from Afar gives young people the chance to take part in creative workshops, meet others in similar circumstances, and come up with their own pieces.

Young people can refer themselves to this project.

Find out how to contact Dream Arts for more information.

Sexual health

SASH London (Support and Advice with Sexual Health)

SASH provide free, non-judgemental and confidential support to improve young people’s sexual health, relationships, and mental health. Everyone is welcome, including people of all genders and sexualities, sex workers, people diagnosed with HIV, and people with learning disabilities.

SASH offer one-to-one support, peer mentoring, and family support. They also offer help for chemsex. They do not have nurses and doctors, but they can signpost to a clinic or online service, make appointments, accompany young people to appointments, and offer support and information.

Find out more about SASH.

Substance misuse

St Giles Trust (for young people who are criminally exploited; have families in need of support with poverty, housing, gang involvement, or substance misuse; or have a parent in prison – UK wide service)

St Giles Trust offer community-based support for young people who are involved in gangs, serious violence, and offending. They also have services for children who have a parent in prison, for families affected by gangs, and for families experiencing poverty.

You can get in touch yourself by filling out a form on the St Giles Trust website.

Insight Westminster (for young people living with or affected by drug or alcohol issues)

Insight Westminster provides a free, friendly, confidential support service for young people aged up to 25 who live in Westminster. They give young people a key worker who works with them to move forward in a positive way.

They support young people who use drugs and alcohol or whose parents (or carers) use drugs or alcohol. They also offer support with offending.

Find out more about Insight and how to refer yourself on their website.  

Violence and abuse

Young Women’s Service at Womens and Girls Network (for young women* who have experienced or are at risk of gendered violence)

This service is for young women aged between 11 and 18 (up to 21 for care leavers) who have experienced (or are at risk of) any form of gendered violence, including domestic violence, sexual violence, child sexual exploitation, gang associated violence, forced marriage, and so on.

The service welcomes trans and intersex young women. It also welcomes non-binary young people who feel the service would best meet their needs and experiences.

They offer advocacy, group work, and counselling.

Find out more about Women and Girls Network.

CouRAGEus Project (for Black and Minoritised young women* who have experienced (or are at risk of) any form of gendered violence)

This project offers specialist advocacy support and counselling for Black and Minoritised young women* who have experienced (or are at risk of) any form of gendered violence, including domestic violence, sexual violence, child sexual exploitation, gang associated violence, forced marriage, and so on.

* This is defined as including BME, LGBT+ and Disabled young women. They welcome trans and intersex young women. They also welcome non-binary young people who feel the service would best meet their needs and experiences.

Find out more about CouRAGEus.

Solace Children’s Creative Therapies (for young people affected by domestic or sexual violence)

This service offers therapy for young people aged 4 and above. Therapists work with young people with art making, play, drama, and talking as appropriate to help the young person better understand their feelings and improve their self-esteem.

Young people must be living in a safe and stable enough environment – the perpetrator can no longer be living with the family (or in a relationship with the mother or carer) and any contact must be deemed to be safe. 

There is a waiting list for referrals. 

Find out more about Solace Children’s Creative Therapies.

DVIP YUVA (for young people using violence or abuse)

This service offers confidential, one-to-one support for young people aged between 11 and 18 (up to 25 years old for people with additional needs) who use violence or abuse and want to change their behaviour and improve their awareness of healthy communication and relationships.

Parents, carers, and professionals can refer a young person. The organisation prefers referrals from professionals if possible.

Find out more about DVIP YUVA.

DVIP Child Therapy Service (for young people affected by domestic violence)

This service offers therapy to lessen the effect of domestic violence on young people aged between 3 and 17. The therapists are child psychotherapists or play and creative arts therapists with specific training in domestic abuse issues in clinical practice. Therapy is tailored depending on the young person’s age.

The young person must currently be living in a safe and stable environment, and the perpetrator of abuse must not be residing with them.

Young people can refer themselves, or a parent or carer or professional can refer them.

Find out more about DVIP Child Therapy Service.

 

Young carers

One-to-one support and holiday activities through Family Lives (for young carers aged between 10 and 15)

Family Lives’ young people’s support service offers one-to-one support to young people aged between 10 and 15. Parents and carers receive family support separately.

They also run holiday-focused fun groups for young people aged between 10 and 15.

Find out more on the Family Lives website.

Creative support for young carers aged 11 and above through Dream Arts

Dream Arts run a project called Carers Express for young people in Westminster who provide emotional and/or practical support for a loved one.

It gives young people the chance to take part in creative workshops, meet other young people with similar experiences, and go on trips.

Find out more about Carers Express on the Dream Arts website.

Honeypot (for young carers aged 5 to 12 – UK wide service)

Honeypot offer a range of services to support young carers aged between 5 and 12, including respite breaks for children, social and emotional active learning breaks, online workshops, face-to-face workshops, and financial support through a wellbeing fund. 

Find out more on the Honeypot website.

Other

St Giles Trust (for young people who are criminally exploited; have families in need of support with poverty, housing, gang involvement, or substance misuse; or have a parent in prison – UK wide service)

St Giles Trust offer community-based support for young people who are involved in gangs, serious violence, and offending. They also have services for children who have a parent in prison, for families affected by gangs, and for families experiencing poverty.

You can get in touch yourself by filling out a form on the St Giles Trust website.

Freedom From Torture (for survivors of torture – UK wide service)

Freedom From Torture offers trauma-focused therapy to help with the effects of trauma, including complex trauma, depression, and other mental health needs. They also offer further services, including creative group activities, social groups, and physical therapy to help survivors rebuild their lives. They offer practical advice for survivors who are seeking asylum.

You can get in touch yourself by filling out a form on the Freedom from Torture website.

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Youth groups and other activities

 

Youth Voice through Family Friends UK

Youth Voice is a monthly session for young people aged between 9 and 18. The sessions give young people the chance to meet with each other and try different activities.

Find out more and sign up on the Family Friends UK website.

Activities through the Octavia Foundation

The Octavia Foundation’s young people’s programme offers a wide range of activities for young people. They’re based at their community hub, The Reed (W11 1NH). They run weeknight sessions during term time and school holiday programmes.

Activities are free, but spaces are limited and parents and carers need to complete a membership form.

Find out more about activities through the Octavia Foundation on their website.

Activities through The Avenues Youth Project

The Avenues Youth Project runs separate groups for young people aged between 8 and 11, young people aged between 11 and 13, and young people aged between 13 and 18.

They run after-school clubs (including a girls-only club for ages 11 to 18), sport activities, and judo. They offer employment skills courses and a music course. They also run activities during the holidays.

Find out more about The Avenues Youth Project and sign up on their website.

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