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Anxiety or Stress

Anxiety is a physical feeling of fear or panic that we have in response to something that threatens the safety of ourselves or people we care about. It is normal and natural for children and young people to feel a degree of anxiety or stress, for example, over exams. For most people, once the situation has passed, they feel better and calm down. If the situation has passed, but the feelings of fear or panic remain or get stronger and start to affect daily living, then that is when anxiety can become a problem.

More about stress and anxiety

Some of the symptoms that children and young people may have include:

  • feeling frightened, nervous or panicky all the time
  • difficulty sleeping
  • poor appetite
  • lack of concentration
  • feeling tired and irritable
  • palpitations (when the heart feels like it is racing)
  • a dry mouth
  • trembling or shaking
  • feeling faint
  • stomach aches, cramps or diarrhoea

Anxiety or stressful situations can make it difficult for children and young people to do their best at school, stop them wanting to do the things they usually enjoy the most and make it difficult for them to enjoy other parts of their lives.

The most common anxiety problems (in alphabetical order) are:

  • Generalised anxiety – worrying about everything
  • Health anxiety - worrying about our own health in the future
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder - worries that something bad will happen unless we do things in a certain way (such as rituals, cleaning or thinking certain thoughts in a certain order)
  • Panic Disorder – worrying that something bad will happen to us imminently
  • Phobias – worry about a specific thing (such as needles, blood or dogs)
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – when memories about something bad that has happened to us in the past intrude on our day to day life and leave us feeling scared
  • Separation anxiety – worries about being away from main caregivers
  • Social anxiety – worries about being judged by others

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Useful apps

  • HeadSpace is a personal guide to health and happiness. Designed to help you focus, breathe, stay calm, perform at your best, and get a better night’s rest through the life-changing skills of relaxation, meditation and mindfulness
  • Calm is an app for meditation and sleep. Designed to help lower stress, lessen anxiety, and assist in a more restful sleep with guided meditations, Sleep Stories, breathing programs, masterclasses and relaxing music
  • Calm Kids, Connected Parents gives you resources on all kinds of parenting dilemmas at your fingertips — including inspirational messages, audio tracks, videos and articles to help you create a calmer, happier home. Download from the Apple app store or Google Play store
  • 7 cups Free anonymous emotional support and counselling from trained active listeners.​​​​​​
  • SAM – Self-help for Anxiety Management is an app that offers a range of self-help methods for people who are serious about learning to manage their anxiety
  • WellMind is a free NHS mental health and wellbeing app designed to help you with stress, anxiety and depression. The app includes advice, tips and tools to improve your mental health and boost your wellbeing
  • MindShift uses strategies based on Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help you learn to relax and be mindful, develop more effective ways of thinking, and use active steps to take charge of your anxiety
  • Insight Timer is guided meditations and talks led by the world's top meditation and mindfulness experts, neuroscientists, psychologists and teachers from Stanford, Harvard, the University of Oxford and more
  • Clear Fear is developed by a clinician co-collaboratively with young people, Clear Fear uses a Cognitive Behavioural framework to help you change anxious thoughts and emotions, alter anxious behaviours and calm fear responses
  • Stress Heads (The Mix) is an app to help deal with stress by getting advice and dealing with all kinds of life stress, from exam pressure to money problems
  • Worrinots provides children with a platform that they can use to communicate their worries, fears and anxieties
  • Chill Panda is an app designed to help with anxiety, managing worries and improving wellbeing for primary school-aged children

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Books

  • All Birds Have Anxiety by Kathy Hoopmann
  • Banish Your Self-Esteem Thief: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Building Positive Self-Esteem for Young People by Kate Collins-Donnelly
  • Breaking Free from OCD: A CBT Guide for Young People and Their Families by Jo Derisley
  • CBT Toolbox for Children and Adolescents by Amanda Crowder, Lisa Weed Phifer and Tracy Elsenraat
  • Coping with an Anxious or Depressed Child: A Guide for Parents and Carers by Samantha Cartwright-Hatton
  • Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks by Barry McDonagh
  • From Timid to Tiger: A Treatment Manual for Parenting the Anxious Child by Sam Cartwright-Hatton, Ben Laskey, Stewart Rust and Deborah McNally
  • Helping Children to Cope with Change, Stress and Anxiety: A Photocopiable Activities Book by Deborah Plummer
  • Helping Children with Fear by Margot Sunderland and Nicky Armstrong
  • Helping Children with Low Self-esteem by Margot Sunderland and Nicky Armstrong
  • Helping Children Who are Anxious by Margot Sunderland and Nicky Armstrong
  • Helping Children Who Bottle Up Their Feelings by Margot Sunderland and Nicky Armstrong
  • Mind Over Mood: Change How You Feel By Changing the Way You Think by Dennis Greenberger and Christine A Padesky
  • Outsmarting Worry (An Older Kid's Guide to Managing Anxiety) by Dawn Huebner
  • Overcoming Your Child's Shyness and Social Anxiety by Cathy Creswell and Lucy Willetts
  • Overcoming Your Child's Fears and Worries: A Self-help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioral Techniques by Cathy Creswell and Lucy Willetts
  • Starving the Anxiety Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Anxiety Management for Young People by Kate Collins-Donnelly
  • Supporting Adolescents and Teenagers with Anxiety & Stress: Evidence-Based Strategies by Tine Rae and Jo Wood
  • The Anxiety and Stress Solution Deck: 55 CBT & Mindfulness Tips & Tools by Judith Belmont
  • The Big Book of Blob Trees by Pip Wilson
  • The Huge Bag of Worries by Virginia Ironside and Frank Rodgers
  • What to Do When… Your Brain Gets Stuck: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming OCD by Dawn Huebner
  • What to Do When… You Worry Too Much: A Kid's Guide to Overcoming Anxiety by Dawn Huebner
  • Lancashire Libraries - Reading Well for Young People – Shelf Help
  • The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust book recommendations and book club

Eresource icon.png e-Resources

Helpful information, guides, tools and classroom resources for education professionals

  • ​​​​​MindEd - MindEd is a free educational resource on children and young people's mental health for all adults working, volunteering or studying to work with children and young people
  • Mental Health First Aid England - Downloadable resources/leaflets, single page PDF posters that school can use and videos for training
  • Young Minds - Training courses, free downloadable booklets/leaflets and posters/resources/materials/lesson plans for teachers and school staff – also available to order at a cost
  • Royal College of Psychiatrists - Online advice, guidance and downloadable factsheets for staff, parents and CYP to use (good for parents’ evenings) with leaflets available to order at a cost
  • MIND - Information booklets and leaflets
  • Moodjuice - Self-help guides and tools for professionals
  • Time to Change - Resources for staff. Schools areas for staff to register
  • Playfield Institute - Hands On - Help and practical advice for supporting children and young people's mental health and emotional wellbeing.​​​​​​​

Self-help material to recommend to children, young people and families/carers

Online places to signpost children, young people and families/carers to for further help

  • Kooth - Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people, accredited counsellors for mental health needs
  • Anxiety UK - Covers advice and guidance about all different types of anxiety​​​​​
  • The Mix - online group chat/discussion boards supporting children and young people with a variety of mental health issues
  • Childline - Information and advice
  • No PanicNational organisation with information about care and support for sufferers of panic attacks, phobias, anxiety, neurosis, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder
  • Stemming Teenage Mental Illness - Advice and guidance
  • Depression Alliance - Depression Alliance brings people together to end the loneliness and isolation of depression. They also campaign to end the stigma of depression and to raise awareness of what it means to live with it.​​​​​​​

Training icon (2).png Training 

Blackburn with Darwen

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Helen Capstick.

Chorley and South Ribble

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Michelle Taylor

Fylde and Wyre

Your Primary Mental Health Workers: Liz LoftusJoanne Collins (Wyre) and Lucy Fenucciu (Fylde).

North Lancashire

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Wendy Hart

West Lancashire

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Dawn Meakin


Information-guidance-icon.png Other guidance


Blackpool

Your Primary Mental Health Workers: Helen Smith, Bethanne Bullion and Stephanie Rowe

East Lancashire

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Aliki Mavraki

Greater Preston

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Shamaila Iqbal

South Cumbria

Your Primary Mental Health Worker: Nikki Swan

Help-advice-icon.png Further help or advice

If you cannot find the help or advice you are searching for or you need other support for a child or young person, please contact your local Primary Mental Health Worker. Their names and email addresses can be found by clicking on the relevant geographical area of the 'Training' section above.

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