Support your child’s mental health

A father holds his daughter's hand while she lies on the sofa looking upset.

If you are a parent or carer and worried your child is feeling anxious, there is help available.

Anxiety is a worry or fear that can have physical, emotional and behavioural symptoms. Lots of things can make people feel anxious from time to time. For your child, this could be:

  • the pressure of exams
  • leaving school
  • a big life change for your family

In some cases, they might not know the cause, which can be worrying for them and you.

It is important to know the common signs and symptoms, and what you can do to help your child manage them.

Symptoms of anxiety


Common physical symptoms of anxiety include:

  • feeling sick
  • panic attacks
  • sweating or feeling very hot
  • aches and pains
  • feeling restless
  • Faster heartbeat and breathing
  • feeling light-headed
  • trouble sleeping
  • grinding teeth

Thoughts and feelings

Common thoughts and feelings associated with anxiety include:

  • Feeling on edge or irritable
  • Feeling dread
  • Feeling tense and unable to relax
  • Feeling overwhelmed and not in control
  • Feeling like you can't stop worrying
  • feeling dissociation or disconnected from the world
  • sensitivity to noises or smell


Common behavioural symptoms of anxiety include:

  • not wanting to go to school
  • avoiding social situations
  • seeking reassurance from others
  • crying
  • self-harm
  • not wanting to try new things
  • repeating certain behaviours or actions obsessively

How to deal with your child’s anxiety

There are different ways of helping your child and avoiding their anxiety becoming worse.

Try talking to your child about how they are feeling and help them to understand the symptoms of feeling anxious. Being able to recognise these can help them to feel less overwhelmed when they happen.

If they're not sure why they are feeling anxious, talk to them and try to identify possible causes. Reassure your child if they are anxious about things outside of their control.

You can suggest activities that could help them to relax, such as meditation or mindfulness.

You should encourage them to take part in other activities that can support their mental health. This could include eating a balanced diet and staying active.

Your child might also need professional support to work out why they are feeling anxious. Speak to a GP in the first instance if you have any concerns.

You can read more information and guidance on how to help your child manage anxiety.