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020 8744 1644

Parent Support

Telephone Support Service for Parents

Off the Record offers a telephone support service for parents & guardians of young people. Our counsellor will provide up to an hour on the phone for you to discuss whatever challenges you’re experiencing, offer support and listen. This can be particularly helpful when the child/young person is unsure about or doesn’t want counselling. To take up this opportunity or find out more information please contact our office on 020 8744 1644 or email


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

Parent helpline: 0808 802 5544

Family Lives
Parent helpline: 0808 800 2222

Phone: 0800 068 4141
Text: 07786209697
Suicide prevention

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

Supporting young people

It can be hard for young people to manage and talk about difficult emotions, and their lack of life experience can make it more difficult to cope. Having someone who can really listen to their feelings makes all the difference to helping your child cope well instead of going into panic. It’s surprisingly hard to really listen, but it’s a skill everyone can learn. We hope these ideas may help:

Making space to listen

  • Find a good moment when things are calm to ask your child how they’re doing or if they want to talk. Don’t be put off by a ‘no’. They’re probably not used to you offering. Try again another time.
  • If they’re willing, let them talk. Don’t jump in, even to help or comment. Do put aside all your own opinions and feelings, temporarily, to properly listen. Remember you’re listening to them NOT you.
  • It will help your child to speak more openly if they know it’s private and you won’t share with anyone else.

Ask questions

  • Problem-solving for your child can make them feel more helpless. Just be curious about what’s going on for them.
  • Asking ‘Why did you do that?’ can sound judgemental, but ‘what happened next?’ or ‘how was that for you?’ is engaged and interested, and gives them space to explore. Asking ‘what did you want to do’ can also help.
  • Check if you’ve understood right – ‘It sounds like this…. is this right?’ and let them correct you. If you’re really trying to understand, your child will forgive any mistakes.
  • Ask what they need – Do they just need to vent? Or to brainstorm solutions? Trust that they know what they need and can work this out.

Listening to emotions

  • Only 10% of communication is through words. It requires careful attention to pick up what’s not being said. Your child will read a lot from your expression, posture and tone too – it’s helpful to listen to yourself when you reply.
  • Being allowed to have and express feelings is always a relief and takes out the panic. Naming feelings helps us understand what’s going on and feel more accepting of ourselves.
  • Anger can arise if we feel unheard or scared, so being able to express anger is important too. It’s also very natural to feel anger whenever life isn’t how we want it.
  • Come back to them later to see how they’re feeling. They may feel anxious about what they shared and wonder what you’re thinking. Let them know you are still available to talk.

You too

It can be very hard to listen to your child struggling and not have your own feelings or reactions. It’s okay to ask for help if you feel your child is at risk or you feel ’out of your depth’.

NSPCC Child Mental Health:

OTR Online Support Links:

Counselling at Off The Record

Counselling at Off The Record is for young people who are having problems. Whether it’s depression and mental health concerns or issues with parents, friends or school, talking to a counsellor can help.

The young person needs to live, work or study in Richmond borough and be between the ages of 11-24 to be eligible for counselling here.

When a young person contacts Off The Record they can expect a friendly welcome, to be treated with respect and given support to make their own life choices. A young person can expect to be helped by a supportive and non-judgmental counsellor. Many young clients have told us that they feel happier after they have seen a counsellor and that counselling has helped them to feel better about their problems.

Contacting Off The Record

When someone contacts OTR we take basic details including availability for counselling, school and GP details (although our service is confidential and we will not contact either of these).

Phone: 020 8744 1644
Text: 07414 763293

Drop-in address: 2 Church St, Twickenham TW1 3NJ

Drop-in opening hours:

  • Tuesday 2 – 8pm
  • Wednesday 3.30 – 8pm
  • Thursday 3.30 – 8pm
  • Friday 2.30 – 6.30pm
  • Saturday 10am – 12pm