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FAQs - Support groups & Helplines

Child in thought
In this section of the website you will find frequently asked questions about particular issues or situations that affect children and young people and their parents. It is hoped that the answers to these questions will offer people useful information and advice, including links to other websites where appropriate.
I am gay/lesbian. Where can I talk to someone about it?
There are several organisations with websites offering support and advice:

Why do young people harm themselves?
People who self harm feel lonely and unloved. Giving your teenager time to talk to you, discussing difficulties they have and letting them know you are there for them will help. Your support will make them feel better about themselves.

For information please refer to the Safe Parenting Handbook

For further information and advice please contact:

ChildLine 0800
The Samaritans 08457 90 90 90 (24 hour helpline)
Action for Children
National Self-Harm Network
The Site

What are Eating Disorders?
Warning signs of an eating disorder are missing meals or eating very little;weight loss or unusual weight change;becoming preoccupied with food;excessively exercising;going to bathroom immediately after meals;believing they are fat when underweight;food disappearing from cupboards;using laxatives and vomiting to control weight - all could indicate an eating disorder.
If you are concerned that your child may have an eating disorder, talk to them about your concerns. Visit your GP who will be able to advise you about specialist help and arrange a referral if necessary.

For further information please see the Safe Parenting Handbook by visiting

For further advice you could contact the following helplines and websites.

Beating Eating Disorders 0845 634 1414 or visit
Young Minds 0800 018 2138
NHS Direct 0845 4647

I have been the victim of crime. Where can I get help to get over it?
Ask the police to refer you to the Victim Support Scheme

The Victim Support (Redcar & Cleveland) website gives further information:

They may be other services that can help you if you are a victim of crime. Please check our service directory information.

My dad is in prison – is there information to help me understand about this?
Action for Prisoners Families offers help and support to anyone with a relative or friend in prison. Free helpline: 0808 808 2003 (Covers England and Wales. Open Mon - Sat)

Further info:

My dad is in prison – can children visit?
Action for Prisoners Families website contains useful information for anyone with a relative or friend in prison.


My parents are splitting and I think it’s my fault?
It's not your fault! Never. Nothing you have done has made your parents split up. Your parents are still your mum and your dad and always will be. They are having problems with each other, not you.

Mum and Dad still love and care about you, even if they don't always behave as if they do.

You are still you, whatever happens, and you are very special.

You are not alone. One in every four children has parents who have split up and are now separated or divorced.

For more help and advice please visit the following website links:-

This website may help you -

What is Postnatal Depression?
The birth of a baby is an emotional experience and, for many new mothers, feeling tearful and depressed is also common.
However, sometimes longer periods of depression known as postnatal depression can occur during the first few weeks and months of the baby's life.

For more information visit
For support visit (Association for Post-Natal Illness)
For helpline call Mama Postnatal Depression helpline on 08451 203746 Mon - Fri 7.00pm - 10.00pm

I have been adopted/my child has been adopted/we have adopted a child. Where can we find independent advice, information, counselling and support?
The following organisations can help you:
After Adoption - Confidential Helpline Call 0800 0568 578 or visit website

Talk Adopotion Helpline 0800 808 1234 Mon - Fri 3.00pm - 9.00pm or visit

My child has a learning disability and is being bullied, where can I get advice on how to deal with this?
This factsheet explains what bullying is and why it takes place. It looks at some ways you can try to prevent bullying from happening or to stop it when it is happening.

Bullying and children with a learning disability[1].pdf

What is Autism?
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to people around them. People with autism have difficulties with everyday interaction. You can see more information from The National Autistic Society on the following website:

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD?

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is defined by two broad groups of behavioural problems: inattentiveness, and a combination of hyperactivity and impulsiveness. Common symptoms within these groups include a short attention span, restlessness, being easily distracted, and constant fidgeting.There is no cure for ADHD, but it can be managed using medication. There are several medical treatments for ADHD, all of which should be accompanied by psychological, educational and social therapies.

For more information visit:

Do Children grow out of ADHD?
The more help a child gets, right from the start, the more likely they are to go on to lead positive and successful lives. The longer hyperactivity or behavioural problems go on, the greater the chance of both school and family reacting against the child, and the child reacting against them. School and family environment have an enormous influence on the way a child grows up. People who were hyperactive as children do sometimes go on to have problems in adult life. These tend to be around self-organisation, organising their thoughts and sustaining focus.

Although it's hard to generalise, because of all the different kinds of behaviours included under ADHD, it's clear that many children do grow out of their problems. There's no reason to assume that your child won't.

For more details Visit:

Where can I get support if I don't know why my child needs help?
Many areas in the UK have a local parents' support group where families' of children with all kinds of disabilities come together for mutual support and contact. It might be helpful to find out if there's one near you. Even if you had a diagnosis, it's unlikely that another child in the group would have the same condition. However, a lot of issues you face on a day-to-day basis will be familiar to other parents and they often have practical advice to share. Local groups have the advantage of meeting regularly and locally, which can be important in providing a support network, if you need one. Another advantage is that other members can pass on information about support and services that are available in your area and that they have already used.

For more information please visit:

Why Is It So Hard to Get a Diagnosis for Disabilities?
There are many things that can cause disability in a child. Difficulties during pregnancy, prematurity, genetic conditions or trauma during birth itself can all be relevant. In some cases it's impossible to single out a specific cause - especially where children have a range of health problems that do not fit easily into any known syndrome. A syndrome is a characteristic pattern, or group of symptoms, which often appear in combination with one another.

Some children have a rare disorder, which may only affect a handful of other children across the country or perhaps none at all. It's harder for doctors to diagnose a condition they've never seen before, and where there are very few studies which would make it possible to compare the features of your child's difficulties with other cases. Many conditions have quite similar features and symptoms, which can also make it hard to be specific about your child's particular condition.

Soem features may not appear until your child id older, when it will become more obvious that they are affected by a particular syndrome or disorder. More and more syndromes are being discovered each year, so it may be that a diagnosis will be achieved for your child in the future, even if it does not seem to be possible now.

If you feel strongly that all avenues to getting a diagnosis have not been explored, you should certainly discuss this with your child's doctor and request a second opinion. But sometimes everything that can be done has been done and you are still left with no diagnosis.

For more information please visit: