Each year in the UK, 10 million people deal with mental health issues. We round up the best online resources for teenagers.

Statistics from The Children’s Society Good Childhood Report show that some 10 million children and adults are experiencing issues related to their mental health and well-being each year in the UK.

For young people, many instinctively feel that getting them off their devices would benefit their mental wellbeing. Whilst this of course true, using media such as messaging or online services, can feel easier and less confrontational to ‘plugged-in teens’, than to face-to-face traditional therapies, or medical surroundings.

Talking about topics that might feel taboo or deeply personal via a platform that feels comfortable to them is a smart move. Mental-health apps and online support sites, set up and run by qualified and experienced mental health professionals, can offer both support and counselling as well as helping teens to pro-actively look after their own mental health; cope with difficult emotions; and learn to develop healthy habits around mental wellbeing. Here are a few out there to consider.

Young Minds


The Young Minds website is a great starting point for teens in need of support and encouragement to talk confidently and freely about mental health. There are great resources for parents, schools and professionals, as well as a Youth Panel of teens and young adults who guide the work and fundraising efforts of the charity to ensure it is giving all teens the voice and tools they need to talk about the issues they face.

Stem 4


Stem4 is a charity that aims at improving teenage mental health by ‘stemming commonly occurring mental health issues at an early stage’. By raising awareness, sharing information on how to recognise the early warning signs and by providing effective coping strategies for friends, families, schools and teens themselves, the aim is to stop mental-health issues progressing. It has developed two handy apps: Calm Fear (anxiety) and Calm Harm (self-harm), that give teens the tools to work through specific issues online, as well as a range of ‘Head Ed’ videos to educate on a range of common mental health concerns for young adults.

Calm app


Named Apple’s 2017 App of the Year, Calm helps users with mindfulness and meditation, a great daily practice to help teens combat anxiety, overwhelm and increase mental resilience. The app aims to build more clarity, joy and peace in daily life. Choose from guided meditations, Sleep Stories, breathing programmes and relaxing music.

MindShift


MindShift is a free app developed in Canada to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety, using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques (CBT). Rather than trying to avoid anxiety, CBT helps make an important shift in thought patterns to manage it, head-on. There is a symptom list checker, as well as nuanced strategies to tackle a range of anxieties (rather than a ‘one size fits all approach). There are relaxation exercises, a thought journal and ‘coping cards’ to help re-adjust negative feelings.

MoodGYM


With 1 million users worldwide, MoodGym is a free, interactive programme to help young people with low mood. Based on CBT and interpersonal therapy, it contains five, scientifically evaluated modules for teens to explore why they feel the way they do, how to change their thoughts, know their triggers and develop resilience. A great tool to get them in the habit of ‘working out’ their mental health at the gym, not just their body.

Recovery Record


A useful companion for those in recovery from eating disorders, Recovery Record allows the user to track meal logs, meal plans, gives advice on coping skills and allows for data and charts to be tracked and shared with supporting medical teams, if desired. Developed by a team of psychologists, engineers and entrepreneurs in the US 8 years ago, it has helped 700,000 users on their road to recovery.

SmilingMind


For younger children and teens, SmilingMind is a modern meditation app suitable for those aged seven years and upwards. There are tailored programmes for different age groups and it acts as a preventative, daily practice to allow youngsters the time and space to de-stress and find balance.

SuperBetter


SuperBetter is a great resource for gamers. Created by game designers, playing the web and app-based programme actually helps build personal resilience; motivation and optimism in the face of difficult challenges. Mimicking the quests (daily life), obstacles (disappointments/set-backs), allies (friends) and power-ups (inner strength) that we find in real life, it helps build resilience, which has been proven to be key in boosting both physical and emotional wellbeing.

Daylio


Dubbed a ‘micro diary’, Daylio is like a traditional ‘Dear Diary’ that allows its user to keep a private journal without having to type a single line. Pick a mood using the visual tracker, add activities to remind you what you did each day and notes to embellish your entry. Great for tracking mood swings, hormones and activity levels, as well as a visual aid to help teens understand how their day-to-day habits impact on their wellbeing and mood.

Kooth


A free, safe, anonymous online messaging support network for young people, Kooth offers a friendly ear in a crisis. It combines the anonymity of online with friendly counsellors who can advise teens on their own mental health, or share tips on how they can help support a friend in need. Users can track their mental health with the daily online journal and read articles written by other young people.

By Lydia Mansi
September 2019

READ MORE

The Five Best Parenting Podcasts

Five Best Podcasts for Kids

Apps To Protect Your Children Online