Teens (aged 12+)

Mental health and wellbeing in teens

Mental health is just one part of your overall health and wellbeing. Just like you can feel physically healthy or a little unwell, it’s normal to experience ups and downs in your mental health too. Sometimes you can feel mentally healthy and other times it may feel like things are a bit off track.
When your mental health gets off track, you’ll probably notice changes in how you are thinking, feeling or behaving or you might have difficulties at home, with friends or at school. You might feel or think differently about yourself, have difficulty managing the usual ups and downs of life or feel less hopeful about yourself or your future. These can be signs that you might need help with your mental health. There are different things you can do to help keep your mental health and wellbeing on track. Things that can help include:

  • eating nutritious food
  • getting a good night’s sleep
  • exercising
  • learning skills to manage stress
  • relaxing
  • spending time with friends and family

For more information on taking care of your mental health visit the Reach Out website.

At times it may feel like your mental health is off track and no matter what you try, you can’t seem to feel alright about yourself and what’s happening in your life. It might even be that you’re too tired, confused or overwhelmed to try anything. At these times, getting some additional support from a mental health professional can be helpful for you. A mental health professional is trained in working with people who have mental health difficulties and will work with you to get things back on track. Getting help early can mean that things get sorted out faster.

Seeking help

In an emergency

If someone’s life is in danger or there is an emergency, phone 000 or attend your nearest hospital emergency department.

For young people

If something in your life doesn’t seem right, talk to someone you trust about your worries. Reaching out to others can help you to get the help you need. Some people that might help you include:

  • A friend or friend’s parents
  • Family members like parents or foster carers, grandparents, aunties and uncles
  • Your school teacher, deputy principal, school counsellor or chaplain
  • A sports coach or someone at church
  • Your doctor
  • Another adult you trust
  • A service like Kids Helpline or your local Child and Youth Mental Health Service.

For parents and carers of teens

If you are worried about your child please seek advice from a professional who works with young people. Some options include:

  • Your child’s teacher or school counsellor
  • Your doctor
  • Parentline or your local Child and Youth Mental Health Service.

Talk to your GP (general practitioner) and ask how the Child and Youth Mental Health Service can help you. A list of our services can be found on the our teams page.

What happens at CYMHS?

When a young person and their family or carers first come along to CYMHS, they will see one of our friendly staff members. This staff member—who might be called your Choice clinician—will meet you and work with you to understand your concerns. Together, we will come to a shared understanding of what has been happening, and develop a plan to help manage these difficulties. At CYMHS, we call this appointment your Choice appointment. Sometimes, this initial Choice appointment is enough to get things back on track. Other times, CYMHS might not seem quite right for you and we will help you to link in with the best service to meet your needs. For some children, continuing to access services within CYMHS will be the right choice. We will partner with you to support you on your road to recovery.

Who will we see?

Our multidisciplinary team may include allied health professionals (like psychologists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists and social workers), as well as nursing, medical and administrative staff, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workers. You may see one or more members of the CYMHS team, depending on your needs. Each team has a team leader and psychiatrist who will oversee your care.
CYMHS clinicians specialise in infant, child, adolescent and family mental health and development. We will involve you in decision making, keep you informed, ask for your input, offer you choices and respect your privacy and need for confidentiality. By working together, we will support you to get back on track.

Treatment planning

At CYMHS we focus on recovery oriented care. This means we recognise and help build on your strengths for better health and wellbeing.

Your care plan may include:

  • Mental health and other types of assessments
  • Individual work (like counselling)
  • Family work
  • Group work
  • working with school counsellors, your GP or another service (with your permission)
  • Medication
  • Referrals to other specialist teams within CYMHS

If you speak a language other than English, CYMHS will arrange a free interpreter with your permission.

What if I need to go to hospital?

Sometimes when you have a mental illness there are periods of time when you can become quite unwell. At those times, it can be beneficial to spend some time in the hospital to help get your recovery on track. Generally, this is because you need more help than we can give you in the community.

At CYMHS, we have two inpatient units for children and teenagers. Our Child Mental Health Unit looks after children and young people up until they turn 14. Our Adolescent Mental Health Unit looks after young people from the age of 14 up until they turn 18. Both of these mental health units are located on Level 8 at the Queensland Children’s Hospital in South Brisbane.

We understand that coming to hospital can be a confusing and stressful time for you and your family/carers. During an admission, we will work closely with you to develop individualised goals. Our aim is to assist you on your journey to recovery.

We are specialists in child and adolescent mental health and want to help and support you through this difficult time. We will involve you in every step of your admission. If you have any worries or questions, please ask any of our staff and they will do their best to assist you.

For more information on our mental health inpatient units, visit Child Mental Health Inpatient Unit or Adolescent Mental Health Inpatient Unit.

Other community resources

In an emergency

If someone’s life is in danger or there is an emergency, phone 000 or attend your nearest hospital emergency department.

24-hour Helpline Services

CYMHS Acute Response Team t: 3068 2555
Lifeline t: 131 114 | crisis support and suicide prevention
Health Hotline t: 13 HEALTH (13 432 584)
Kids Helpline t: 1800 55 1800 | telephone counselling service for people aged 5-25
Youthbeyondblue & beyondblue t: 1300 224 636
Alcohol and Drug Information Service t: 1800 177 833
Poisons Information Centre t: 131 126

Other Helpline Services

Parentline t: 1300 30 1300 | 7 days a week from 8am to 10pm
Eheadspace t: 1800 650 890 | 7 days a week from 9am to 1am AEDST
NPS Medicine t: 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) | Mon to Fri 9am-5pm

Useful websites

Kids Helpline w: kidshelpline.com.au
Parentline w: parentline.com.au
ReachOut w: au.reachout.com
ReachOut Parents w: parents.au.reachout.com
Youthbeyondblue w: youthbeyondblue.com
Beyondblue w: beyondblue.org.au
Eheadspace w: eheadspace.org.au
Raising Children w: raisingchildren.net.au
COPMI w: www.copmi.net.au
Choice and Medication w: choiceandmedication.org/queenslandhealth
NPS MedicineWise w: nps.org.au/home


CYMHS clinics

For more information about your local Child and Youth Mental Health Service, including catchment suburbs, location details and referral guidelines, visit the our teams page.