The Mental Health Toolkit may be used by any primary care professional or general practice in the UK. It is designed to collate resources which inform and support delivery of high quality mental health care in the primary care setting. It is arranged by clinical topic, and there are also sections collating important national and international guidelines and key documents for those involved in service design and commissioning. Patients, carers, and GPs concerned about their own mental health, may also find the toolkit useful.
Child and adolescent mental health
ADHD NICE Clinical Knowledge Summary – ADHD (2021) - Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioural syndrome characterised by hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. It starts in childhood. Information on features, recognition, diagnosis and management options are covered in this knowledge summary.
Autism NICE Clinical Guideline  - Autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: support and management (updated 2021) - This guideline covers children and young people with autism spectrum disorder (across the full range of intellectual ability) from birth until their 19th birthday. It covers the different ways that health and social care professionals can provide support, treatment and help for children and young people with autism, and their families and carers, from the early years through to their transition into young adult life. It should be used alongside the Autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: recognition, referral and diagnosis and Autism spectrum disorder in adults: diagnosis and management guidelines.
Autism NICE Quality Standard [QS51] – Autism (2014) - This quality standard covers health and social care services for adults, young people and children with autism. It includes assessment and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders, and care and support for people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
Anxiety NICE Quality Standard [QS53] – Anxiety disorders (2014) - This quality standard covers identifying and managing anxiety disorders in adults, young people and children in primary, secondary and community care. It covers a range of anxiety disorders, including generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, obsessive–compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder.
Autism NICE Clinical Guideline [CG128] - Autism spectrum disorder in under 19s: recognition, referral and diagnosis (updated 2017) - This guideline covers recognising and diagnosing autism spectrum disorder in children and young people from birth up to 19 years. It also covers referral. It aims to improve the experience of children, young people and those who care for them.
Autism SIGN Guideline 145 -Assessment, diagnosis and interventions for autism spectrum disorders (2016) - The guideline provides recommendations for best practice in the screening, surveillance, diagnosis, assessment and clinical interventions for children and young people with ASD. It also incorporates evidence and recommendations on assessment, diagnosis and interventions for adults with ASD.
Depression NICE Clinical Knowledge Summary – Depression in children (2020) - This summary looks at how depression may present in children and adolescents and how to stratify it into mild, moderate or severe. It offers guidance on watchful waiting, primary care interventions and referral thresholds.
Depression NICE Guideline [NG134] – Depression in children and young people: identification and management (2019) - This guideline relates to children and young people aged 5-18. It takes a stepped care approach, with steps 1 and 2 relevant to the role of primary care.
Student mental health NICE Clinical Knowledge Summary – Mental Health in Students (2020) - This CKS topic covers the identification, assessment, and management of mental health problems in students.
OCD and BDD NICE Clinical Guideline [CG31] – Obsessive-compulsive disorder and body-dysmorphic disorder: treatment (2005) - This guideline covers recognising, assessing, diagnosing and treating obsessive-compulsive disorder and body dysmorphic disorder in adults, young people and children (aged 8 years and older). It includes recommendations on how families and carers may be able to support people with either of these conditions, and how they can get support for themselves.
PTSD NICE Guideline [NG116] - Post-traumatic stress disorder (2018) - This guideline covers recognising, assessing and treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children, young people and adults. It aims to improve quality of life by reducing symptoms of PTSD such as anxiety, sleep problems and difficulties with concentration. Recommendations also aim to raise awareness of the condition and improve coordination of care.
Self-harm NICE Quality Standard [QS34] – Self-harm (2013) - This quality standard covers the initial management of self-harm and the provision of longer-term support for children and young people (aged 8 to 18) and adults (aged 18 and over) who self-harm.
Self-harm NICE Clinical Guideline [CG133] – Self-harm in over-8s: long term management (2011) - This guideline covers the longer-term psychological treatment and management of self-harm in people aged 8 and over. It aims to improve the quality of care and support for people who self harm and covers both single and recurrent episodes of self-harm.
Social anxiety NICE Clinical Guideline [CG159] – Social anxiety disorder: recognition, assessment and treatment (2013) - This guideline covers recognising, assessing and treating social anxiety disorder (also known as ‘social phobia’) in children and young people (from school age to 17 years) and adults.
Early Detection of Emerging Psychosis (PDF file, 564 KB) - This factsheet offers guidance for GPs on recognition of early psychosis – the most common age for development of psychosis is 16-30, but 5% are 15 or younger.
Hub of Hope - A directory of local services for support with a wide variety of mental health and related issues.
Living Life to the Full – Young People - This is a suite of online life skills for young people, helping them to help themselves. They include modules, online books, worksheets and videos.
RCGP Top Tips – Anxiety in Children and Young People - This succinct guide is written to support clinicians and primary health professionals when caring for children and young people suffering from anxiety
RCGP Top Tops – Suicide in Children and Young People - This document offers some suggestions specifically about how to assess and manage suicide risk in a consultation, acknowledging that more detailed mental health assessment may need to take place over multiple consultations and with input from other services.
RCGP Top Tips – Self-harm in Children and Young People - Self-harm is a mode of communication which expresses the young person’s sense of emotional distress often exacerbated by frustration or a sense of isolation. This short document offers some top tips in the approach to self-harm.
Patient and carer information
ADDISS - ADDISS provides a wide range of information and resources about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to parents, sufferers, teachers and health professionals.
Alumina - Alumina is a free, online 7 week course for young people struggling with self-harm. Each course has up to 8 young people, all accessing the sessions from their own phones, tablets or laptops across the UK. It is run by trained counsellors.
Autism Alliance - This is a network of 17 charities across the UK. It works to support, provide information, research and provide training about childhood and adult autism.
Banardos - This site offers support to young people on a variety of topics, including training, employment, LGBTQ+ issues and a directory of local services.
Charlie Waller Trust - This charity helps young people to understand their own mental health, equips them to support themselves and those around them, and to empowers them to talk more openly about the subject. They do a lot of outreach work with families, schools, colleges, universities, and employers.
Childline - Childline is available to anyone under 19 and offers telephone, email and counsellor webchat support 24/7.
Child Autism UK - Support, advice and services for children with autism.
Hampshire Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services – Personal coping plan - Download instructions on how to make a personal crisis and coping plan for a child or young person.
Home Advisor - Creating the optimal living environment for a child with ADHD.
Mental Health Foundation - This page answers several common questions about children and young people’s mental health and signposts to various sources of support.
National Autistic Society - This site offers advice on a wide range of issues affecting autistic people and their families.
NHS England – Urgent Mental Health Helpline - This link takes you to a site where urgent mental health help can be accessed 24/7. This may be via 111 or some areas have dedicated numbers.
NSPCC - The NSPCC has advice for parents/carers on how to manage concerns about their children’s mental health. It includes self-harm, bullying, drugs and alcohol. There is also a mindfulness guide for families.
OCD UK - This charity work for children and adults, providing advice, information, and support services for those affected by OCD.
Papyrus UK - This charity is focused on suicide prevention in children and young people. There are crisis contacts, information for parents/carers and also for professionals on how to support young people who are struggling with their mental health, especially if they are experiencing suicidal ideation.
PDA Society - Pathological demand avoidance (PDA) is considered to be part of the autistic spectrum involving the avoidance of everyday demands and the use of ‘social’ strategies as part of this avoidance. The website has an introduction to what PDA is and also some resources for individuals, parents and professionals.
Royal College of Psychiatrists - This section of their website contains information for young people, parents and carers about young people’s mental health.
Sibs - A charity supporting brothers and sisters of disabled children and adults.
SupportLine - SupportLine describe their work as offering confidential emotional support to children, young adults and adults by telephone, email and post. They aim to develop healthy, positive coping strategies, inner strength and increased self esteem to encourage moving forward with life.
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust – How to make a crisis coping plan with a young person - This is a two minute film made by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and describes how to make a crisis coping plan. It is designed to be watched by a carer with or without the young person present.
The Children’s Society - This link is to a page for young people, designed to help them with their emotional wellbeing and provide information in an accessible way.
The Mix - This organisation offers essential support to under-25s, including mental health support.
Young Minds - Young Minds is a charity who work with children, parents, carers and professionals to support the mental health of young people. There are links from the home page for further information and support for all of these groups.
Further information and reading
MindEd - MindEd is an online learning and advice resource for anyone interested in, or concerned about, the mental health of children and teenagers. There are sections for both professionals and families. It is free to access.
Mughal, F., Babtunde, O., Dikomitis, L. et al. Self-harm in young people: the exceptional potential of the general practice consultation. BJGP 2019; 69 (681): 168-169 - This paper summaries the role of practices and practitioners in identifying issues and supporting children and young people to engage in primary care services.
RCGP eLearning Module - Autistic Spectrum Conditions - This course comprises a set of three modules which describe the identification and management of ASCs in children, young people and adults.
RCGP eLearning Module – Child and adolescent mental health - This elearning course on Child and Adolescent Mental Health enables you to recognise the most common presentations of mental health difficulties in children and young people. Cases and discussion are used to illustrate the key points, in particular focusing on mood and behavioural problems.
RCGP eLearning Module - Consultation with young people with mental health problems: a practical guide - This course considers consultations in primary care with young people with mental health problems. Common presentations are considered, including physical symptoms, and the recognition of the existence of a mental health problems is discussed.
RCGP Position Statement – The Role of the GP in Caring for Gender Questioning and Transgender patients (2019) - GPs are most often the first point of contact with the health care system for individuals questioning their gender. In some cases, GPs can be the first people they confide in about their gender identity or uncertainties about their gender identity. General practice plays a vital role in ensuring these patients receive the care they need. This document offers more information about the GPs role and approach.
RCGP Screencast – Children’s mental health - In this short screencast risk factors for mental illness are discussed, and a framework described for what to address during such consultations.RCGP Top Tips – Bullying - Bullying is a major risk factor for both acute and long-term physical and mental health problems, poor educational attainment, and difficulty in developing normal social relationships. This document looks at key issues.