Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Children & Young People Mental Health Support

All about Mental Health


Anxiety is the feeling we get when we think something bad or scary will happen.

It is a healthy reaction to things we think are possible threats (real or imagined).

When we are anxious our bodies produce a hormone called adrenalin which prepares us to take action – this is called the “fight or flight response” – and when this happens we can experience some physical and emotional responses:

  • Pounding heart and racing pulse
  • Feeling hot and sweaty
  • Feeling tense and edgy
  • Feeling sick
  • Feeling shaky
  • Feeling panicky
  • Wanting to go to the toilet
  • Wanting to lash out
  • Wanting to run away
  • Getting angry
  • Unable to think clearly
  • Feeling afraid

All of these reactions are natural responses to situations where we feel threatened in some way.

They are designed to make us feel uncomfortable enough to want to feel safer. They are part of our many “survival mechanisms” – imagine not having any anxiety about anything – we might start taking all sorts of risks that would threaten our health and happiness!

Our thoughts can set off anxious feelings, especially if we get into a pattern of negative thinking, asking ourselves “What if…..?”, imagining the worst, or judging ourselves harshly in comparison to how we see others.

Too much anxiety can become a serious problem, getting in the way of us enjoying ordinary everyday life so, however you are feeling, it can help to have a chat with someone about what's on your mind. Check out who you could contact for support locally here

NEW LINK to Anxiety Attack Meditation for Young People.This is a short animation film created by The SUN Network working together with Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Integrated Care System and others as part of Mental Health Awareness Week 2023.

Clear Fear

If you are interested in using a digital resource to help with feelings of anxiety, checkout the free Clear Fear app. With the free Clear Fear app you can learn to reduce the physical responses to threat as well as changing thoughts and behaviours and releasing emotions. You can personalise the app if you so wish and you will be able to track your progress and notice change. 
Clear Fear is an app developed for teenage mental health charity stem4 by Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, and uses the evidence-based treatment Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to focus on learning to reduce the physical responses to threat by learning to breathe, relax and be mindful as well as changing thoughts and behaviours and releasing emotionsClick the image above or here to go the Clear Fear App page


What is self-harm?

Self-harm is when you hurt yourself as a way of coping with difficult or overwhelming feelings, memories or experiences.

There are many forms of self-harm. Some of them include injuring yourself in a physical way such as cutting, burning or scratching your skin. It can also include injuring yourself by hitting yourself or punching walls, poisoning yourself or overdosing. Self-harm can also be less obvious such as putting yourself in risky situations, excessive exercise, over-eating or under-eating.

Self-harm can make you feel better and might enable you to deal with difficult feelings temporarily or for a short while. However, self-harm can also bring up difficult feelings and might make you feel worse. You may feel embarrassed or ashamed of it. You may be worried about other people judging or worrying about you. You may even fear that they ask you to stop self-harming immediately.

These and other worries might mean that you keep your self-harm hidden from anyone. This is a common reaction.

How can I help myself?

If you are thinking of stopping or reducing self-harming you might find it difficult to know where to start. There are some things that you can try to help yourself initially, but you might need to try a few in order to find something that works for you.

  • Keep a diary to record what happens before, during or after self-harm to understand what triggers the urge to self-harm
  • Distract yourself
  • Delay self-harm each time you feel the urge

  have some really useful information that you may find helpful - click their logo or here

These are also some leaflets that you may find helpful:

Centre 33 leaflet:                                                   

 Self harm leaflet 

For parents and carers:               For professionals:  

Coping with SH  Understanding and responding to SH 

Calm Harm is an award-winning app developed for teenage mental health charity stem4 by Dr Nihara Krause, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, using the basic principles of an evidence-based therapy called Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT).

Calm Harm provides tasks to help you resist or manage the urge to self-harm. You can make it private by setting a password, and personalise the app if you so wish. You will be able to track your progress and notice change.

Read more about it to see if it is for you via the NHS website here or click the Calm Harm logo for information about accessing the app. 

Self harm support
Supporting families of children who self-harm

Nessie is commissioned by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council to provide free support to families of children and young people who self-harm. Nessie offer:
· Parent workshops across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in schools, community settings and online;
· Targeted 1-1 parent support;
· Telephone and online parent support.

Nessie is a not-for-profit organisation providing easy access to arts therapies, counselling, support, training and supervision so that children, young people and their families can thrive. We provide support through partnering with local schools, county councils and community organisations. Parents can also reach out to us directly. We are proud to offer qualified, regulated, child centered, flexible support. Our Mental Health Leads training is quality assured by the DfE. 

For more information, please contact us: 

NEXT online Peer Support Group for Parents/Carers of Children with Self-Harming Behaviours and Complex Needs - 8 Week Course:
For other sessions, please see poster details below.


Feeling sad, low, down or lonely can be difficult feelings to bear.  These feelings are uncomfortable, even painful at times.  However they are important feelings to have from time to time and inform us when difficult things are happening in our lives. These feelings in themselves don’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.

So how do you know when you have depression?

Depression is a condition which can develop over time.  It can happen when the sad, difficult feelings just won’t go away, and start to have an impact on everyday life.  Depression can affect us in lots of different ways and might have an impact on how you feel, think or behave.

You might feel:

  • down and tearful all the time
  • tired, lacking energy and motivation
  • bad about yourself, guilty or worthless
  • numb or empty
  • hopelessness or helplessness
  • that there’s no point to anything, that life isn’t worthwhile 

You might think:

  • a lot of negative thoughts
  • suicidal thoughts and feelings
  • you are a burden to other people
  • people are better off without you

Your behaviour might change and you might:

  • not be able to sleep- or the opposite, sleeping too much
  • experience a loss of appetite – or on the other hand comfort eating or eating too much
  • have problems concentrating
  • not be able to enjoy the things that used to be fun
  • become withdrawn, shut down

If you notice that you have been feeling low for weeks at a time and it doesn’t seem to go away or even gets worse, you don’t have to through this by yourself.  Talking to someone you can trust might make a big difference to how you feel.

You can also talk to your doctor who will discuss the different options for you.  This might include medication.  This is not always appropriate for everyone, and is not the only option. There are also “talking therapies” which can be very effective.
Centre 33 offers someone to talk to in confidence about how you feel. You will be listened to, taken seriously, and not judged.


        What are eating disorders?

        Eating disorders are mental illnesses affecting people of all ages, genders, ethnicities and backgrounds. Eating disorders are not all about food itself, but about feelings. When things feel tough, the way the person treats food may make them feel more able to cope, or may make them feel in control.

        There are different types of eating disorders:

        When a person has Anorexia Nervosa they limit and reduce food or stop eating. They can use laxatives or over exercise in order to have an unhealthy weight (their weight is much less than it should be).

        When a person has Bulimia Nervosa they are usually overeating in one moment (binge) and then they try to get rid of the food they ate by making themselves sick or using laxatives and exercise excessively. Between binges they could starve themselves. Their weight keeps the same or they alternate between being overweight and underweight.

        When a person has Binge Eating Disorder they eat large amounts of food compulsively, and usually unhealthy food. Their weight usually increases.

        All types of eating disorders have a negative impact on your body and health. Eating disorders are difficult to manage on your own but you can ask for support. An eating disorder is never the fault of the person experiencing it, and anyone who has an eating disorder deserves fast, compassionate support to help them get better.

        BEAT Eating Disorders First Signs Tips Poster

        provides helplines for people of all ages, offering support and information about eating disorders no matter where you are in your journey.  Helplines are free to call from all phones.

        Their helplines are open 365 days a year from 9am–8pm during the week, and 4pm–8pm on weekends and bank holidays.


        0808 801 0677


        0808 801 0811


        0808 801 0711

        When you call their helpline you will speak to a trained support worker experienced in listening and talking to people in a similar situation to you. They know it can be difficult to reach out for help and talk about what you are feeling and going through, but they aim to provide a supportive, non-judgemental space.

        You don’t have to have a formal diagnosis to use Beat's Helpline

        Beat's eating disorder helpline support workers are trained to:

        • Offer a supportive space for you to explore your feelings and thoughts around eating disorders.
        • Provide information about eating disorders. When we do not have the information that someone is looking for, we might be able to give you some ideas about who might be able to help.
        • Explore options for help with eating disorders and to enable you to come to your own decisions about what might be best for you. This might include NHS treatment, private therapy, support from charitable organisations, peer support or self-help.
        • You can talk one-to-one with Beat using their secure instant messaging service. They are currently working closely with their partners NEDIC, a Canadian eating disorder charity, to pilot a one-to-one web chat service between the hours of 8pm and midnight Monday to Thursday and 8pm and 10pm on Fridays. Between these hours, your chats will be with a member of the trained NEDIC team and data will be stored within Beat’s systems.

        see their website to learn more about eating disorders and to get information and support

         The Sun Network LogoThe following information has been put together by those who have experienced different eating challenges and recovered or in recovery. They want you to know you are not alone and support is available. 

        Please note: This information is not absolute and it has been created by individuals from the sun network who have experienced eating disorders and from their observations of their journey through recovery, so some of the text may not resonate with you. The information may be triggering. If you need urgent mental health crisis support, call NHS111 Option 2.

        Causes: Eating disorders are complex. There is no single reason. There can be a range of factors that could combine to make it more likely any one person could develop this condition.

        Further explanations: Eating disorders are ever changing and different for everyone. Unhealthy eating behaviours may include but aren’t limited to eating too much or too little or worrying about your weight or body shape. 

        So many things can be going on at the same time and you can feel like things are so out of control.

        You may feel the urge to want to put things in a box or label things you don’t understand, to normalise or minimise what you are experiencing.

        Eating Disorders can become a crutch and feel like it is all you have got.

        You do not have to focus on recovery if this feels like a long way off. Consider small more manageable steps to help you on the journey of recovery. Small steps are still steps.

        Often there are religious holidays, festivals, rituals or periods of our lives that are focused on food. These can be difficult so don’t be afraid to ask for support.

        Individual’s experience eating disorders and feelings differently. You could do certain behaviours or experience thoughts and activities that are unhealthy but make you feel good. It can be hard to let that go as that’s a coping mechanism.

        Early habits - There can be early signs or habits that are unhealthy for individuals to do. It is a good idea to act quickly. 

        Physical health = Mental health

        It is a common misconception that eating disorders are about physical looks. Whilst there are physical aspects such as weight loss or gain, bingeing, and vomiting, over or under eating, or over exercising, eating disorders are a mental health illness affecting thoughts and feelings. Physical and mental health are closely linked, and it is important to look after both.  

        Physical and Mental Health representation.

        Words of encouragement from The Sun Network LogoYou are enough illustration

        • You matter and your feelings are valid 
        • You are not the eating disorder; you are still yourself 
        • You are loved and will always be loved 
        • You have top-notch qualities, don’t forget about them 
        • Recovery is possible and there is life after an eating disorder. You can write down your reasons to recover 
        • Stay connected with your support network 
        • Reach out. You are worthy of help 
        • Talk to yourself as you would to someone you love 
        • There are times of joy beyond the eating disorder 
        • Each day is a new day 
        • Small steps are still progress 
        • Be proud of yourself for how far you have come  
        • You can still be a friend, partner, employee 
        • People will listen 
        • There is no one or reason to blame 
        • Find reasons to love yourself 
        • Small steps are still progress, celebrate them 
        • Every journey is different, but the end goal is the same 
        • Your eating disorder doesn’t have to fit in a specific box 
        • It’s ok to speak out, don’t be ashamed, your mind wants to silence you. You wouldn’t be ashamed of breaking your leg 
        • Forgive yourself 

        If you found this information helpful, you can download this leaflet the sun network have produced here

        You can read lots more from the sun network on the adults section for this site here. 

        Personalised Eating Disorder Support (PEDs) A specialist eating disorder charity based in Peterborough, supporting individuals locally and around the country and further afield via our Skype and email services.

        Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Foundation Trust run the Eating Disorder Service locally. Most people will be seen as outpatients, with a small number requiring a hospital stay. To access support for an eating disorder, please visit your GP.




        It’s exam results time again, and we want to say a massive “Well done!” to all young people across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough who have taken exams this year, whatever the result.


        This year we have produced a dedicated page on our local mental health information website The page is packed full of advice, support and information for anyone looking for help, and for those struggling with difficult emotions.


        You may not have received the exam results you hoped for but remember you should be proud of how hard you’ve worked whatever the result.  Journeys in life frequently change course and things don't always go to plan, but try to remember today is just the beginning of an exciting journey, whatever the route.


        Support available:


        • Keep Your Head website provides information on mental health and wellbeing support and local services available for young people and adults across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.


        • SHOUT text line - 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis. Get free, confidential mental health support anytime, anywhere. Text 'HEAR' to 85258.


        • Qwell and Kooth - Free online wellbeing platform offering text-based counselling, moderated discussion forums and self-help. – for ages 11-18 – for ages 18+


        • CHAT HEALTH TEXT LINE - 07480 635 443

        (open Monday - Friday  9.30-4pm) - Run by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Healthy Child Programme and is a secure and confidential text messaging service for young people aged 11-19 across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are struggling with a range of health issues.



        Helpline: 0800 100 900

        They also offer a free call back service via the website.

        Help us improve our local mental health services and support website

        Cambridgeshire & Peterborough’s flagship mental health information and support website ( has been providing reliable mental health support since 2016. The website needs bringing up-to-date to ensure it is user friendly and provides the latest information on local services and support available. To do this we need your help!

        To help shape this website refresh project, we're asking local people to fill out a short survey to help gather feedback on the current site and how they currently find out about local information and support available. The survey will run until Sunday 17th September.  

        Here is a link to survey:

        Here is the QR Code:  survey QR

        Your feedback will inform the refresh of the website to ensure we develop an improved all-age, single point of access mental health website, with advice and information about mental health services and support in the region and highlight recent updates, changes and useful activities.  For more information about the refresh project please visit the dedicated page on the ICS website here:

        If you would prefer to share your views over the phone instead, please contact to arrange a time and date to take part.

        are running online talks in March 2022 on exam stress. If you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed about upcoming exams, then come along to Part 1 ‘Understanding exam stress’ on 24th March, and Part 2 ‘Managing exam stress’ on 29th March.

        You can find out more information and sign-up on their events page here-

        News on Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Service

        From 1 July 2021, CHUMS are no longer delivering the Emotional Wellbeing Service in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. A new service called Younited is now providing support for children and young people with their emotional wellbeing and mental health. Younited is provided by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) under a partnership agreement with Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, Centre 33, and Ormiston Families.

        We would like to reassure those already referred to CHUMS that the new service will continue to support you with your mental wellbeing, and this change will not affect the level of support offered to you.  Children and young people will be contacted by the new service in due course.

        Professionals can now make a new referrals to the Younited service. Please go via this website for more information.

        Centre 33 have also put together this resource about why and how we experience panic and look at ways we can face and cope with this when it happens - it includes handy in the moment tips and there's the option for you to think about putting down a plan that may help you. Plus suggestions for further support. Please view and download it here: 

        managing panic resource by Centre 33


        Holding page for Co-production opportunities space

        Managed by The SUN Network