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Mental Health

Whatever the difficulty that you are experiencing, you are not alone. There are many ways in which we can help you, both inside the school, and outside the school. Whatever it is that is bothering you, please find someone you can talk to. Talking to someone, you can trust is the first step towards making things better. Please do not suffer in silence.

At Atherton High School, you have access to many members of staff, ranging from your form tutor to Senior Leadership. It is important that if you are struggling, worried and just not feeling yourself that you find a member of staff that you feel you can trust and confide in. All staff at Atherton High School are here to help, and support you so that you are able to grow, and develop.

There is also plenty of help and support available outside of school. We would always signpost you to some of these websites and support agencies so that you are able to access support whenever you need it.

Health and wellbeing, including mental wellbeing are integral elements of our PSHE curriculum, from Year 7 to Year 11.

This is the Wigan CAMHS Mental Health Support Team (MHST)

Our school is part of a cluster of schools in Wigan who are supported by the MHST.  The MHST work with our designated Mental Health Lead to provide 3 functions:

  • Deliver evidence-based interventions for mild-to-moderate mental health issues.
  • Support the senior mental health lead (where established) in each school or college to introduce or develop their whole school or college approach.
  • Give timely advice to school and college staff, and liaise with external specialist services to help children and young people to get the right support and stay in education.

To find out more about how the MHST might be able to support your child, please see the MHST guide for parents.






For Parents

Does my child or young person need mental health support? It’s normal to feel angry, sad, worried or stressed sometimes. However, if they’re struggling to cope with those feelings, they might need support. Look out for:

  • Sudden changes in behaviour.
  • Negative thoughts and low self-esteem.
  • Arguing and fighting.
  • Sleep problems.
  • Avoiding school or staying with you all the time.
  • Aches and pains.
  • Remember – everyone is different and these signs might not have anything to do with a mental health problem.

Children and young people can be affected by big changes like:

  • Death or illness in the family.
  • Parents separating.
  • Moving school or moving to a new house.
  • Tests and exams.
  • Adolescence and puberty.
  • Relationship and friendship problems.

There is a difference between feeling a bit low from time to time and a serious emotional health problem. If your child is feeling unhappy and low for a prolonged period of time, or if you have any other serious concerns about your child or young person, it’s time to seek more professional help.

Any professional working with children and young people should know what to do. You may find it helpful to speak to:

  • The family GP.
  • A member of staff at school: your child’s Head of Year, or a member of the Safeguarding Team.
  • Health visitors.

YoungMinds offers free confidential online and telephone support to anyone worried about the emotional and mental wellbeing of a child or young person up to the age of 25. Call the free parents’ helpline on 0808 802 5544 from 9.30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Email and YoungMinds will respond to your query within 3 working days.

What can I do at home to support my child’s mental health?

  • Find time to talk, just the two of you – ‘Check in’ with them while you’re doing things together, so they get used to talking about their feelings.
  • For younger children playing together can be very useful – Play helps them to be curious, learn new things, solve problems and express feelings without words.
  • Be a role-model – Show how you cope with difficult feelings and look after yourself.

Helpful websites and helplines

For Pupils

What support can I get?

Finding the right support isn’t always easy, especially if you’re not feeling well, but it’s important to remember that there are lots of places you can find help. You’re not alone, and you deserve support.

Your doctor

Doctors can give you a safe space to talk and answer any questions you have. They can also:

  • Give you information.
  • Offer you support and treatments (such as counselling and medication).
  • Refer you to a specialist mental health service, such as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Your school

You can speak to Mrs Fazackerley, your Head of Year or any member of the Safeguarding Team or you could ask a teacher or a member of staff you trust.

Family or friends

Close friends or family can sometimes be really helpful and comforting. They can:

  • listen to you;
  • be there to support you with how you’re feeling;
  • go to appointments with you;
  • help you find support.

Online support

  • – Counsellors available until 10pm every day. Free, safe and anonymous online counselling for young people.
  • Childline (0800 11 11) – Run a free 24-hour helpline, email service and online and phone counselling service for children and young people in the UK.
  • -Charity supporting children, young people and their families across England.
  • Anxiety UK 03444 775 774 (helpline) 07537 416 905 (text) – Advice and support for people living with anxiety.
  • 0808 808 4994, text 85258 (crisis messenger service, text THEMIX) – Support and advice for under 25s, including a helpline, crisis messenger service and webchat.
  • texting SHOUT to 85258 (24/7 crisis messenger service, text YM) – Committed to improving the mental health of babies, children and young people, including support for parents and carers.
  • NHS Apps library  helps people find apps and online tools to help manage their health and wellbeing. For example:
  • Calm Harm  is designed to help people resist or manage the urge to self-harm.
  • Catch it helps people manage feelings like anxiety and depression and improve mental wellbeing.
  • Sleepio is an online sleep improvement programme which is free for people living in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
  • SafeSpot is an iPhone and Android app that promotes positive mental wellbeing in children and young people and has been designed to help children and young people with their coping skills.
  • The Think Ninja app educates 10–18-year-olds about mental health, emotional wellbeing linked to ADHD and Autism.


Doing little things to look after your wellbeing can be really important. It might be:

  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Eating something you really like and even making something for yourself.
  • Doing something you find relaxing, like listening to music or watching your favourite film.
  • Doing something you enjoy, like a favourite hobby or spending time with people you love.
  • Spending time in nature, like going for a walk or visiting a local park.
  • Getting active by going for a run, bike ride or playing a sport you enjoy.

Wellbeing Apps

(Android, iPhone, iPad)

MindShift app is to help young adults cope with anxiety, by acting as a portable coach that guides users through challenging situations. The app teaches users how to relax and helps them identify active steps to directly face and take charge of their anxiety.

The app provides a variety of methods for young people to respond to anxiety including; developing their knowledge of anxiety and symptoms, engaging in relaxation tasks, evaluating their level of anxiety in particular situations, developing realistic thinking patterns and changing behaviour.

Specific tools help users tackle issues such as improving their sleep quality, dealing with perfectionism, and handling conflict. These tools address everyday situations that contribute to increase levels of anxiety, in order to help users change their overall relationship with anxiety. The goal is to help young people learn and practice anxiety coping skills.

Headspace: Guided Meditation
(Android, iPhone, iPad)

Headspace: Guided Meditations and Mindfulness takes a calm, relaxed approach to bringing calm relaxation into the lives of adults and kids. Headspace app, aims to keep children to stay “calm and focused” through short meditation exercises.

The app will help kids fall asleep and wake up peacefully. It uses common meditation techniques like becoming aware of environmental sounds, breath awareness, breath counting, and more.

Kids can learn the basics of meditation and mindfulness. Kids can follow the instructions and are reminded by the app to meditate each day. They can develop the habit of making time for personal growth and self-reflection in different situations, such as bedtime and waking up. This app is recommended by CAMHS and other Mental Health professionals

Smiling Mind
(Android, iPhone, iPad)

Smiling Mind is designed to help people reduce pressure, stress, and challenges of daily life. This app has a fantastic section on Mindfulness in the Classroom. An especially good choice for the younger users out there, as it was created specifically with students in mind.

Smiling Mind offers programs for a variety of age groups, including 7-9, 10-12, 13-15, 16-18 and adults. The app has an easy-to-use interface for keeping track of your progress over time, both in terms of how many sessions you complete and how your emotions change.

(Android, iPhone, iPad)

Calm is the perfect meditation app for beginners, but also includes hundreds of programs for intermediate and advanced users. Guided meditation sessions are available in lengths of 3, 5, 10, 15, 20 or 25 minutes so you can choose the perfect length to fit with your schedule.

Enjoy 100+ guided meditations to help you manage anxiety, lower stress and sleep better. Sleep Stories are soothing tales read by well-known voices to help people unwind and fall into a deep sleep each evening. Also enjoy 10 minute guided video lessons on mindful movement and gentle stretching.

For Me
(iPhone, iPad)

There are many different things than can impact a child’s mental health. Even the most attentive parents might not be fully aware of any anxieties or problems that their children might have.

Made and supported by the charity Childline, For Me provides help and guidance for those that need it, both within the app and through easy connection to a counsellor.

This is a free app, so encourage your child to have it on their device. That way, if ever they do need help, they have a starting point and it is one that has always been there, not one that has been pushed on to them because of their problems. Even if they do not need it for themselves, it might help them support a friend who does.

The Zones of Regulation
(iPhone, iPad)

What do you get when a game developer works with an occupational therapist? Zones of Regulation, it seems. The game developer’s sense of style and fun engage children with this app while the occupational therapist’s influence guides children towards better control of their emotions.

Children identify the coloured ‘zone’ that they are in which corresponds to different groups of emotions. For example, anger is in the red and sadness in the blue. The app then guides children through these emotions and how to deal with them. The intention is to take children through the negative emotions into the calm and content ones. There are not many apps that link a child’s love of games with mental wellbeing so this is one to check out.


BlueIce is an evidenced-based app to help young people manage their emotions and reduce urges to self-harm. It includes a mood diary, a toolbox of evidence-based techniques to reduce distress and automatic routing to emergency numbers if urges to harm continue.

BlueIce has a mood wheel to track your mood and lets you add notes on how you’re feeling or what you’re doing. You can use the mood diary to see patterns and identify triggers.

The app offers a personalised set of activities designed to reduce distress including a music library, photo library, physical activities, relaxation and mindfulness exercises, and spotting and challenging negative thoughts.

Calm Harm

Calm Harm is an app designed to help people resist or manage the urge to self-harm. It’s private and password protected.

Calm Harm is based on the principles of dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT). DBT is a type of talking therapy that’s often effective in people with mood disorders. The app provides tasks that encourage users to distract themselves from urges to self-harm and help manage their “emotional mind” in a more positive way.

eQuoo: Emotional Fitness Game
Free, with in-app purchases

The eQuoo app uses adventure games designed by psychologists to help you increase your emotional fitness and teach you new psychological skills. You’ll also find tips on how to communicate more effectively and maintain your mental wellbeing.

After mastering a set of psychological skills, you can choose your own adventure game to put them to the test. The type of game changes level by level, and there are mini-games designed to help you understand your personality and identify your areas for growth and personal development.


The MeeTwo app provides a safe and secure forum for teenagers wanting to discuss any issue affecting their lives. You can anonymously get advice from experts or other teenagers going through similar experiences in areas such as mental health, self-harming, relationships and friendships.

With MeeTwo, you can post messages about any issue you’re struggling to cope with. You’ll receive supportive responses from other teenagers and guidance from MeeTwo experts designed to build confidence, increase wellbeing and improve emotional resilience. Every post and reply is moderated to make sure only positive feedback is published.

The app contains advice and information on a variety of subjects, as well as a directory of specialist support groups that can offer further help.


The WorryTree app aims to help you take control of worry wherever you are.  You can use the WorryTree app to record your worries, then the app uses CBT techniques to:

  • ask you to answer a series of questions and make decisions about your worries
  • help you challenge your worries and decide if you can control them or not
  • give you ways to distract yourself from your worries and move on with your day
  • help you create an action plan to take control of your worries

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