Mental health

Mental health can affect anyone. People with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) can be more likely to experience mental health difficulties. 

You can find out how SEND and mental health are related on the Mind website.  

For help recognising the signs a child might be struggling with mental health difficulties, you can visit the NHS children’s mental health website

You can also watch a video on Essex County Council's YouTube channel from the Social Emotional and Mental Health Strategy team. This video explains what a child’s behaviour might mean in terms of emotional wellbeing. 

Supporting your child through mental health difficulties 

If your child is under 5, visit the Anna Freud website for information about common difficulties in the early years.   

For parents of children aged 5 to 11 years, you can find information on mental health for 5 to 11s on the NHS website.

If your child is aged 11 to 18, find out how to recognise and respond to mental health difficulties on the NSPCC website.

For parents of young people aged 18 and over, the NHS website has information on supporting a young person with mental health needs.

Accessing support for your child

If your child is feeling low or anxious, or if you have any serious concerns about how your child is feeling or acting, seek professional help. 

You could speak to: 

  • someone you trust at school or college such as a teacher, school nurse, mental health lead or special educational needs co-ordinator (SENCO) 
  • a GP 
  • a health visitor (for children up to 5 years) 

They can tell you what support is available in your area and put you in touch with children and young people's mental health services. 

Alternatively, you can self-refer by completing a referral form to access a range of support from Southend, Essex and Thurrock Children's and Adolescent's Mental Health Service (SET CAMHS) 

If you think your child needs help immediately, find out where to get urgent help

Getting support for yourself

It’s important to look after your own emotional wellbeing and mental health as a parent or carer. 

You can find information on self-care for parents and carers on the Anna Freud website. 

Find out about support available for mental health on the NHS website


For information on parenting with a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, visit the Mental Health Foundation website.

Support in the community for you and your child

There are local groups and services who can help. 

Search for mental health support 

Private therapy

Some people choose to have private treatment. If you see a therapist privately, you'll have to pay for treatment. 

You can usually approach a private therapist directly without a referral from a doctor. 

If you make this choice, look for accredited providers included in directories such as the professional standards authority website