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Online Information & Support Directory

We have gathered some online resources below – please note we cannot be responsible for any content on external websites.

People take drugs for all sorts of reasons; maybe to try and forget their problems, or because their friends do, or because they think it’s cool. Most young people will ‘experiment’ to see what it’s like.

Drugs don’t have the same effect on everyone and what makes one person feel good might leave another feeling awful. Your mood, who you’re with and where you are also make a difference. You may drink to have a good time but too much alcohol or mixing it with drugs can have very serious side effects.

Alcohol and drugs can be addictive which means that rather than just wanting a drink or a ‘fix’ the body begins to need it to keep functioning. When you become addicted your emotions stop maturing and this can cause problems later on.

There are programmes to help people come off drugs and alcohol but the emotional effect addiction can have on you and your family might take a lot longer to get over.

Useful links:

Many young people have problems managing their anger. Anger is a natural response when things don’t seem fair in life, or something bad happens. We all get angry sometimes. Just feeling angry is not a problem – it’s how we express anger that can get us into trouble.

When we hold anger in, it can build up and explode, usually in the wrong moment, which can upset other people and lose us friends. We don’t want our anger to control us so that we regret the things we do. But if we can’t express or show our anger, e.g. in school, it can really help to talk to someone about it instead.

Counselling can provide a space to explore where your anger comes from; start to see the triggers that make you angry, so you can find better ways to control and manage it.

Useful links:

Anxiety is a natural feeling that we all feel quite often. It’s the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response to a threat or challenge, so in many ways it can be useful. It gives us energy and makes us feel alert.

But if a person gets too anxious too often it can start to affect their thoughts and behaviour in negative ways. For example, you can get panic attacks which can be very frightening, although they won’t do any real harm (you might feel sick and faint, sweat a lot, breathe fast or get palpitations). You might lose the confidence to try new things, find it hard to concentrate and have problems eating or sleeping. You might also have continual negative thoughts that bad things are going to happen.

You may know why you’re feeling anxious. Preparing for exams is a very stressful time. Social situations or events where you are the centre of attention can be challenging. If a friend or family member is ill or has died, it’s not uncommon to feel insecure and worry about bad things happening to those you’re close to. Too many changes in life at the same time are scary and difficult to manage, and can feel overwhelming. Talking about it to someone can help you begin to understand what’s going on and see the causes better; it can put things in perspective and bring the anxiety back under control again.

Useful links:

If someone close to you dies you are likely to feel a wide range of strong emotions, including loss, anger, regret, sadness, depression, and feelings of denial. It can take time to come to terms with any changes.

Relationships are central to our life so you may find you lose concentration and interest in school, or other parts of your life. If things get too confusing, talking to a counsellor can help you to understand your feelings and find a way to cope better with what’s going on.

Useful links:

Bullying takes many forms. It can be a one-off or it can go on for a long time. And bullying can happen to anyone.

Bullying can be physical – when a person or a group threatens, or hits, another person. It can be name-calling, teasing, spreading stories about someone or excluding them from the group. People also use their mobile phones or the internet to threaten and torment others. You can be bullied for any reason at all, but no reason is ever valid; a bully will always find something to pick on, and bullying is always wrong.

If this kind thing is happening to you and you feel you can’t cope, (or to someone else you know), tell someone about it as soon as possible, so it can be sorted out before it becomes too serious. Bullying is taken very seriously and all schools have an anti-bullying policy although this doesn’t always mean they are good at stopping the bullying quickly.

It is well-known that the person doing the bullying has problems and needs help to stop bullying, which is another good reason for not keeping quiet. Telling an adult you can trust, like a parent, family friend, teacher or counsellor is a good place to start. If somebody physically hurts you, or verbally abuses you, that’s bullying. Specific types of bullying include:

  • Cyberbullying – bullying online
  • Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic – bullying motivated by prejudice against LGBTQ+ people
  • Racist – bullying based on skin colour
  • Religious – bullying based on belief/faith
  • Sizeist – bullying based on body size
  • Sexist – bullying based on sex

Useful links:

Children are dependent on adults for their development and well-being but unfortunately some adults take advantage of this. This is called abuse and a young person under the age of 16 has a legal right to be protected from abuse. There are four main categories:

Physical abuse is where a young person is hit, punched, kicked, burned, poisoned… anything which causes them bodily harm.

Sexual abuse involves forcing or inviting a young person to take part in sexual activities. It’s still abusive even if the child feels they’ve allowed it to happen. It also includes being made to watch and/or take part in pornographic material.

Emotional abuse is behaviour which damages a young person’s emotional development, for example, continually giving a child the message that he/she is worthless and unloved, or only useful when they meet the needs of someone else.

Neglect is seen as abuse when a carer doesn’t provide for a young person’s basic physical needs (such as adequate food, shelter and clothing), so that a child’s health and development is seriously damaged. It’s also neglectful not to respond to a child’s basic emotional needs.

The abuser is usually a member of the young person’s family, a friend, or someone they know and trust, making it difficult for the abused child to tell anyone. They may eventually talk to try and protect younger brothers or sisters from the same thing happening. Abuse should never be ignored and no matter what the victim is told, it’s never the fault of the person being abused.

Most of us at some time in our life will feel low, anxious, sad, lonely or tearful, but if it continues for several months, affecting your everyday life and stopping you from doing the normal things you want to do, then it is called depression. At least 5% of teenagers, or 3 people in every class, suffer from depression. Symptoms can include; struggling to sleep or sleeping more than usual, losing your appetite, not wanting to go out with friends, feeling really tired and unable to concentrate on anything – at school or home, or feeling useless, worthless and un-loveable. You might also feel like self-harming, or feel suicidal.

These feelings can be very distressing and will affect your life and relationships. You may feel hopeless about things ever changing, but there is always a reason for depression that will make sense of it. You may have been through a difficult time, or experienced a stressful event.

Counselling can provide a safe space for you to explore how you feel. It can help you understand why you feel depressed and you can look at strategies to help you out of your depression. This might happen quickly or take a bit longer, depending on the cause of your depression.

Bipolar Disorder is a much more rare condition, when you experience very extreme mood swings, going from feeling very high to very low. You may consider trying medication which can help keep your moods on a more even keel.

Useful links:

This is any kind of violence which involves controlling or threatening behaviour by any person from age 16 upwards, to a partner or family member. It might include psychological, physical, sexual, emotional or financial abuse. The violent behaviour is aimed at making a person feel less important than the abuser, dependent on them, and powerless to get help from outside. It may make the victim feel stupid and frightened. It includes ‘honour based’ violence.

This violence often, but not always, happens at home, and may involve a parent, carer, partner, brother or sister or someone else in the house. It usually happens many times – some victims are attacked over 35 times before first telling the police. Sometimes the attacker is drunk or on drugs and afterwards promises never to do it again.

The victim can be made to believe he/she deserves it, and so does nothing to stop it. Even if a child is not being physically hurt, seeing a parent being harmed, or living in fear of the next assault, is very upsetting. Talking to someone safe can help you to get a clearer understanding of what is happening and how you really feel.

Useful links:

Food is an important part of life and it’s normal to have patterns around eating. But food can become a problem when it’s used to help avoid or control painful feelings and stressful situations. When eating patterns become obsessive, an eating disorder can develop.

Often low self-esteem is involved, but difficulties at home or at school, sexual or emotional abuse or any other problem can set it off. For teenagers, feeling insecure about how their bodies are changing may be a trigger. At first, the eating disorder may give you a sense of control over your life and your body, but as time goes on it’s clear that the eating disorder is controlling you.

If you’re starving yourself (anorexia), bingeing and then making yourself vomit (bulimia) or compulsively over-eating it’s important to find help because this can do serious harm to your physical and mental health which can’t be repaired later. Telling someone might feel very scary but because of your behaviour and appearance, the people close to you have probably guessed what is happening. Talking about it can be one of the most important steps to getting better.

Useful links:

All relationships can be difficult to manage – family, friends and partners. Everyone is learning all their life about how to get it right. Media and films don’t help because they give a romantic image of love and friendship which is very far from the truth. Relationship break-ups are usually very painful because we need close friendships with other people and it always hurts when someone rejects us.

Whether it’s our relationships we’re struggling with, or our family that’s breaking up, it can be frightening, and we can feel we have no control over what’s happening. Kids often feel to blame when their parents argue or split up, but it’s not your fault, and you can’t do anything to help. The break-up is between your parents not you, although it usually has a big impact on your life too.

If you lose someone through family break-up, or through death, you are likely to feel a wide range of strong emotions, including loss, anger, regret, sadness, depression, and feelings of denial. It can take time to come to terms with any changes.

Relationships are central to our life so you may find you lose concentration and interest in school, or other parts of your life. If things get too confusing, talking to a counsellor can help you to understand your feelings and find a way to cope better with what’s going on.

Useful links:

See also: Bereavement links

If you are 16-17 and homeless, the council has an obligation to house you as soon as possible, but if you are older it is extremely difficult to get housing in Richmond borough. For more information and help on this area, contact the following organisations.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) has 2 parts – an obsessive part where you have invasive or worrying thoughts, and the compulsive part where you feel driven to acting out rituals or behaving in stuck patterns, like constantly washing your hands; this might be in an attempt to stop the unwanted thoughts you’re having.

Many people have a mild version of this behaviour which doesn’t really affect their life, but if it gets very bad it can make day-to-day life extremely difficult. It can be treated, so if you think you may suffer from this problem it’s worth asking for help.

Useful links:

Having a mobile phone and going online is great for lots of reasons. But it’s important to be aware of the dangers too. Learn how to stay safe online.

Having your nudes shared can feel scary, and it can leave you feeling worried or even ashamed. But it’s not your fault.   It’s against the law for anyone to share a sexual image or video of someone who’s under 18, and Childline is working with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and Yoti to help young people remove any sexual image or video of them that’s online. 

Useful links:

Self-injury is when someone hurts themselves deliberately, usually by scratching, cutting or burning their skin, or by hitting themselves. It can also include taking dangerous drugs, too much alcohol, not eating and neglecting themselves. Often they keep what they are doing very secret as other people can get angry with them and accuse them of attention-seeking.

But usually a person self-harms because the pain they feel when they do it helps lessen their emotional pain, or it may help them feel something instead of just feeling numb. Some people harm themselves because they feel like a bad person. Self-harming is generally a way to cope with feelings when you don’t know what else to do, but there are other, better ways to cope, and talking is a good place to start.

Useful links:

If you are having sex, or thinking about it, you may be worried about getting pregnant or catching an STI (sexually transmitted infection). Why not drop in one Monday for a chat? You can talk to our specially trained nurses about anything to do with sex and contraception.

Sexual Health drop-in service opening hours:
Mondays 3pm–5pm (except Bank Holidays)
Off The Record Twickenham, 2 Church Street, Twickenham, TW1 3NJ

Anyone up to and including 18 years old can come and everything is FREE and confidential.

As well as giving advice, we can provide: Pregnancy testing; Contraception e.g. the pill, condoms, the contraceptive injection; Emergency contraception (morning after pill); Chlamydia testing (and referral for other STI screening); Referral for termination of pregnancy.

Please note that we cannot offer sexual health examinations, STI treatment or IUDS (intra-uterine devices), implants or cap fittings. However we can tell you where else to go for these.

Useful links:

For most of us it can take a long time to feel comfortable with our sexuality. But it can be even harder if you’re gay or bi-sexual because society contains many prejudiced people who disapprove. However, there’s nothing wrong with your sexuality, and many other people also feel like you.

You may have known from an early age that you felt different from most of your friends. However, many people don’t always know from the start if they’re gay or straight – you may have thoughts and feelings for some time which leave you confused, and you can also ‘change sides’ at different times in your life. All these things are normal, so if you can accept who you are and what you feel, you’ll become more confident about expressing yourself. This may include telling your friends or family or trying to meet other gay and bi-sexual young people (which definitely helps). Talking to a counsellor can also help.

You may have other gender issues such as gender dysphoria (transgender), where you feel that you were born the wrong sex. Talking to someone with experience in this area is always helpful.

Useful links:

  • Papyrus:
  • CALM:
  • NHS:
  • Created in collaboration with a BAFTA Award-winning animation studio, Sinking Feeling explores themes of loneliness, isolation and the importance of peer support; it tackles the heart-breaking reality that many children and young people are suffering in silence without the vital help and support they need :
  • Samaritans, call free any time, from any phone, on 116 123:
  • SOS Silence of Suicide – Stop the silence, start the conversation – helpline, online, in person:

Crisis Helplines

Phone: 116 123
24/7, 365 days a year

Childline (NSPCC)
Phone: 0800 1111

YoungMinds Crisis Messenger
Text YM to 85258
Free 24/7 support

Phone: 0800 068 4141
Text: 07786209697
Suicide prevention

The Mix
Freephone: 0808 808 4994
Daily 4-11pm
Text THEMIX to 85258
24/7 crisis support

24/7 Mental Health Support Line
Phone: 0800 028 8000