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Talk to someone!

Always remember it’s OK to not be OK and talking shows strength, not weakness.

If you (or your child, if you're a parent/carer) need some support with improving emotional wellbeing/mental health, there are lots of self-help resources and services available in Hertfordshire all year round.

Please always ask for support if you need it and don’t ever struggle on alone.

The services below are all free. They don’t need a professional referral, so you can contact them directly.

Who to call in a crisis (all ages)

If you or someone you know of any age is having a mental health crisis and needs help right now, call:

24/7 freephone HPFT SPA* Mental Health Helpline: 0800 6444 101  

or NHS 111 (option 2)

Hertfordshire’s NHS 24/7 mental health helpline

If yourself or someone else is seriously ill or injured, dial 999 for the emergency services, or go to your nearest A&E

*Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust Single Point of Access (HPFT SPA)

Additional national helpline numbers and websites:

Self help

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are based on extensive international research and can help all year round, so please spend 20 minutes completing the free online Five Ways to Wellbeing e-learning modules here and take a look at the links below for lots of other tips and resources:

Self-help resources and other useful websites:

There are lots of things that can affect any one of us, so please click on the words below if you’re looking for more information on any of these topics:

Phone and/or online support services and drop-in services

With Youth | Digital Wellbeing Service  

For ages 5-18, parents/care givers  
Available to help children and young people to cope with what’s going on for them. They have a helpline and instant messaging service for young people and/or their parents or care givers.
Friendly advisors can listen and chat with you online or over the phone 020 8189 8400 2pm-10pm seven days a week (excluding bank holidays), give their advice and offer you more one to one or group support if you need it.


With Youth | Lumi Nova Tales of Courage

For ages 7-12
With Youth Digital Wellbeing Service and Lumi Nova therapeutic gaming app can help with problems such as mild to moderate anxiety, low mood, low self esteem, stress and any other worries. The service is not for children and young people who are in crisis.


Herts Haven Cafés in Hemel Hempstead, Watford and Stevenage 

For ages 10-18

Safe and welcoming drop-in cafes for young people to embrace their emotional wellbeing

Compassionate face to face emotional wellbeing support and guidance from trained workers, without the need for a professional referral.


The Sandbox

For ages 10-25 
Sandbox offers online advice and guidance and is free to sign up. They help young people to understand and learn ways to manage their feelings, so they feel happier and more able to cope with the ups and down of life that we all experience.

Sign up for this free NHS funded service. It offers a website with access to games, worksheets, group chats and online events for children, young people, their parents/carers, teachers and other professionals. The Sandbox provides access to internet enabled Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (iCBT), or one to one support from professional therapists by text, phone, online chat or video call, based on a triage of the young person’s needs: 

  • Website: 24/7
  • Therapy sessions: Mondays-Fridays 7am-10pm and Saturdays and Sundays 10am–10pm
  • Live Chat: Mondays-Fridays 10am-8pm 


Hertfordshire's NHS Talking Therapies* 

For ages 16+
Confidential talking therapies and other practical support to help improve emotional wellbeing. 

*previously known as HPFT IAPT (Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust Improving Access to Psychological Therapies) - different name, same service.



For ages 16+
Offering a range of support, courses and advice, togetherall is a safe, online community where people support each other anonymously to improve mental health and wellbeing.


First Steps to Understanding Eating Disorders (First Steps ED)

For ages 5-18, parents/care givers
Digital and face to face one-to-one support sessions, as well as weekly psychoeducation and group support programmes (Wellbeing Workshop, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) support group, binge eating workshops, etc). Parents, carers and older siblings can also gain access to First Steps ED’s Parent Support Programme.


NESSie Free Early Help Parenting Support Service

For parents/care givers
Support for parents/carers of children and young people with emotional and mental health issues. NESSie's services include: 

  • Free online and face-to-face parent/carer workshops within a school/community setting. 
  • Parent support line: 07932 651319 (Thursdays 9am-12pm or by appointment).
  • 1-to-1 targeted support sessions by appointment.
  • Drop-in coffee mornings for a chance to gain peer support.
  • Private moderated Facebook support group


Text messaging services


Text a School Nurse on 07480 635050
For ages 11-19 
This is a confidential service where you can ask for help on a range of issues including weight and exercise, healthy eating, stress or anxiety, relationships and sexual health. Available Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.

Text the Health Visiting Service on 07480 635164
For parents/care givers of 0-5 year olds
Text the Health Visiting Service for advice anytime between Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.


A list of schools with a Mental Health Support Team (MHST)
Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) offer assistance and training to families, along with therapy for children with mild to moderate mental health issues. They focus on enhancing resilience and teaching healthy coping methods.

Neurodiversity Support
Find information and signposting to services for children and young people (age 0 - 25) with neurodiversity needs on Hertfordshire's Local Offer website, including The Toolbox (free online ADHD and Autism Support for Hertfordshire's children and young people) 

Mental health support for adults
Information collated by Herts Mental Health Learning Disability and Autism Health Care Partnership (MHLDA).


Support for Hertfordshire’s children, young people and families who are waiting for a mental health service

Hertfordshire’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (Herts CYPMHS) * encourage children, young people, and their families to ask for help to improve their emotional wellbeing and mental health as soon as they notice a problem.

There are many early help services in Hertfordshire to advise and help young people and their parents/carers.

Many services do not need a referral by a GP, school or other professional, you can self-refer.

Over the past two years more children and young people are getting support from early help services, which is a positive change as shown in the graphic below:

CYPMHS performance headlines

Although there are many services to help, some will have waiting times.

Waiting can be hard, but there is support available to help whilst waiting and this is what you can expect:

Support from other services

Many early help services (that do not have a waiting list and accept self-referrals) can support children and young people whilst they are on a waiting list for another service:  

Find out more about these services on the Just Talk Herts website at:

Support from the service you are waiting for

Services are listening to feedback and will stay connected so that young people and families know about:

  • What to expect of the service they are waiting for.
  • How to get in touch if the situation changes and/or if there are any concerns in between contacts.
  • Local resources and services available to help whilst waiting e.g. the early help digital support services with instant chat function and self-help resources and others (see the Support from other services section above):
  • National resources such as: Young Minds and Anna Freud.
  • Who to call in a mental health crisis including:
  • Who to call in an emergency:
  • if a child/young person requires emergency medical treatment for their physical health and/or 
  • if they are at an imminent risk to themselves or others due to a current mental health crisis and/or require a place of safety.

Call 999 for the emergency services, or go to the nearest A&E.

Services review referrals and some children and young people will receive a risk assessment if this is necessary/needed whilst they are waiting. (Many services with longer waiting times offer risk assessments).

Hertfordshire’s children and young people’s mental health services will listen to any comments and suggestions they receive from children, young people, and families, so please give them your feedback, so they can keep improving.

*Hertfordshire’s Children and Young People’s Mental Health Services (Herts CYPMHS) system includes commissioned mental health and emotional wellbeing services accessible for all children and young people in Hertfordshire. 

Other useful resources

Posters about this webpage for download, print and display

Mental health service directory - Print only (PDF 161Kb) 
Services for children and young people that offer both early help and specialised support for mental health. If you need this information in another format email us


New website coming soon

A new website for Hertfordshire's Children and Young People's Mental Health Services (CYPMHS) system is currently being developed.

It is anticipated that the launch of the first phase, delivering information, advice and guidance for children, young people, families and professionals will be in 2024.

Keep checking here for the link to the new website when it goes live.