For parents and carers

What is good mental health and wellbeing?

Mental health is a key component of our health and wellbeing no matter our age or stage in life. Mental health is as important for infants, children and young people as it is for adults. The signs of good mental health will be different depending on our developmental stage. For infants this can mean healthy development and exploration of their world. For children this can mean enjoying spending time playing and for teens this can mean feeling okay about themselves and the future.

Ups and downs in mental health are a normal part of life. For example, feeling very sad and upset about the death of a loved one, or being unsettled at the beginning of a new school year are normal responses to the changes and transitions of everyday life. However, there may be times where thoughts, feelings and behaviours can continue to be troubling or they may interfere with your child’s everyday life. These might be signs that things are off track with your child’s mental health. Parents, carers and families are usually the first to notice these changes and are a great source of help-seeking on behalf of themselves and their child. We encourage you to get help when you notice a problem, as getting help early can mean that the problem can be sorted out quickly.

What happens at CYMHS?

Who comes to CYMHS?

CYMHS specialises in helping infants, children and young people and their families or carers who have complex mental health needs. We see clients who are struggling with anxiety, depression, their attachment-relationships, eating disorders, school refusal, psychosis, suicidal and/or self-harming behaviours and/or trauma. This struggle has usually impacted on their development, close relationships, activities, education or work.

How to get a referral

Children and young people who come to CYMHS have been referred by a professional. To get a referral, first talk to your General Practitioner (doctor), guidance officer or another helping professional about your concerns. They may refer you to CYMHS, or to other suitable services to best meet your needs.

Please note that if you are really worried or you are finding it hard to get a referral, our staff are always happy to speak with you. A list of our teams and their contact details can be found here.

Our referral-based appointments are offered when:
1. Mental-health issues are causing a child or young person and their family distress and are interfering with daily functioning at home, school or the workplace.
2. Problems are linked with out of the ordinary reactions to significant life events. For example, illness, separation, divorce or bereavement.
3. Priority will be given to children, young people and families who are experiencing severe distress and who are at risk of harming themselves and/or others.

Urgent referrals

CYMHS will respond very quickly to people who are in extreme distress (for example, children or young people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or psychosis) and/or who are at significant risk of harming themselves and/or others.

I'm worried about my child

In an emergency

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

If you are worried about your child please seek advice from a professional or service who works with babies, children or teens.

Some options are:

  • Your child’s child care worker, teacher or school counsellor
  • Your child health nurse
  • Your doctor (General Practitioner)
  • Parentline on 1300 30 1300 (from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week for the cost of a local call)
  • Contact your local Child and Youth Mental Health Service. Contact details for our services are available here.

If you live outside of the Greater Brisbane and Pine Rivers regions, please phone one of our clinics and our friendly staff will help put you in touch with your local service

Parent and carer resources

Depression, anxiety and other resources

Beyondblue and youth beyondblue w:
Reach Out w:
depressioNet w:
SANE Australia w:
Black Dog Institute w:
Lifeline w:
Headspace w:
The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) w:
Eating Disorders Association w:
National Eating Disorders Collaboration w:
The Butterfly Foundation w:
Mind Health Connect w:
Asperger Services Australia w:
Autism Queensland w:

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In an emergency

Call 000 or attend your nearest hospital emergency department

The Acute Response Team Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

t: 07 3068 2555

Contact our Independent Patient Rights Adviser

The Independent Patient Rights Adviser is here to help patients and families understand their rights under the Mental Health Act 2016. Download this brochure on how to contact our Independent Patient Rights Adviser.

Child and Youth Mental Health Management Unit

This unit manages all services within the Child and Youth Mental Health Service. Operating hours Mon-Fri, 8.30am-5pm.

t: 07 3310 9444 f: 07 3310 9498 e: