Children and Young People's Mental Health and Neurodivergence

Please see resources below to find the most appropriate help for a child or young person with mental health difficulties and concerns about neurodivergence:

Emergency Helpline

CAMHS Emergency Helpline - 0800 9539599 - for use in emergency situations

  • During a mental health crisis if you’re thinking of harming yourself, or if it is too urgent to wait to speak to your GP, CAMHS worker or school. 
  • If you are considering going to Accident & Emergency (A&E) for mental health reasons.
  • If you are under 18 years or the person you care for is under 18. 

This will not refer you into the CAMHS service.

Professional referrals to CAMHS for ongoing support of severe, continued and complex mental health difficulties can be arranged via your GP, school nurse/ counsellor, social workers and some youth workers. 

Happy Maps- reliable sources recommended by parents and professionals

Please see the link below for information on managing mental health problems in children of all ages:

HappyMaps | Support for Your Child's Mental Health


ADHD is the commonest behaviour disorder in children. Children may struggle to concentrate, cannot control their behaviour and often seem to have too much energy. Parents often notice that their child has less of a sense of danger than other children their age. Symptoms usually become obvious in early childhood around 3-8 years old, but there is also a huge overlap with normal behaviour, as being very active and impulsive are common in this age group. Children who are going through a disruptive time such as moving house, divorce or have had a recent stressful event may also display similar symptoms but these often improve over time. 

If you suspect your child has ADHD then please talk to their school initially. The school can assess your child and refer for an assessment if necessary in many cases.

If this is not possible or there are other complex mental health or physical health concerns then please book an appointment with a GP. 

It may be helpful to look at the following information on Happy Maps in advance of any assessment:

ADHD - HappyMaps

It is also useful to download and complete a Conners Parents Questionnaire and show this to the school (or GP)

Connors Parent Questionnaire (

Autism Spectrum Disorder ASD

Autism is a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people, and how they experience the world around them. Each person with autism will be affected differently. It is still sometimes referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Asperger's Syndrome.

Autism can be understood as a neurological difference in brain development, with key differences in the areas of: 

  • language and communication; 
  • social awareness and emotional literacy
  • flexibility of thought
  • sensory processing

Parents often worry that their child may be showing signs of autism in the early years. It is helpful to be aware that there is a big overlap in symptoms between autism and anxiety, and that anxiety is much more common. For example, anxious children will often enjoy repetitive play or behaviours as it can help them feel calmer and safer. They may also react badly to change or appear to become obsessed with wearing certain clothes or doing things in a certain order.

Further infomation including how to seek help if you have concerns that your child has Autism is available below:

Autism (

If you are concerned that your child has Autism then please discuss this with your child's school or nursery or health visitor (if under 5 years old). They can provide support for your child and arrange an assessment if this is necessary. Parents can also make a referral themselves but must include the relevant forms and questionnaires. Most referrals do not need to come via a GP unless there are other complex mental or physical health concerns.

Further details on assessment and referral and relevant forms that can be downloaded can be found on the Community Children's Health Partnership (CCHP) page below:

Autistic Spectrum Condition Referral - CCHP | Community Children's Health Partnership


The following links may also be helpful:

Autism - HappyMaps

Home - Bristol Autism Support

Prevention of suicide in young people

Prevention of young suicide (Under 35's) PAPYRUS 
HOPELINEUK is a specialist telephone service 
Open: Mon-Fri: 10am-10pm, weekends: 2pm-10pm & bank holidays: 2pm-10pm 
Call: 0800 068 41 41              
Text: 07786 209697

Chat Health: Confidential text message service for people aged 11-19 years

Chat Health is a confidential text messaging service which allows students aged 11-19 to contact healthcare professionals for advice.
The service is open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm (excluding bank holidays).

For more information visit  ChatHealth

Off the record Bristol - for young people aged 11-25 years old

Introducing OTR

OTR is a mental health social movement by and for young people aged 11-25 in BNSSG.

It offers a variety of projects to promote good mental health and wellbeing, and empower young people to support themselves and their communities. However, it's not just a charity providing mental health services – it's a mental health social movement mobilised to support, promote and defend the mental health, rights and social position of young people.

OTR is free, confidential and offers self-referral. Young people can find out more and sign up at 


Whatever you're feeling, we're here to help.

Get free, safe and anonymous support.

Chill Panda app

Play your way to a calmer day

Samaritans app

Keep track of how you're feeling, and get recommendations for things you can do to help yourself cope, feel better and stay safe in a crisis.

Insight timer

A free app for sleep, anxiety and stress


A list of helpful resources and apps designed for young people and their families