World Mental Health Day 2020: Mental health for all

World Mental Health Day (October 10th) is important to recognise every year, but it has particular weight this year. 2020 has brought with it many of the same challenges we face each year as parent carers or young people with disabilities, but the pandemic has put many of those issues into sharp relief, as well as introducing new difficulties. The World Federation for Mental Health has set 2020’s theme as ‘mental health for all‘, and this has never been more relevant.

Many of us have been focused on taking it one day at a time for the much of the past few months, and you may feel you don’t have a spare minute to look after yourself. But blocking in a little time regularly to look after your own wellbeing can only make things easier in the long run. If you have caring responsibilities, don’t feel guilty for focusing on yourself for a little while. Investing some time into building your own resilience will help you be your best self for your family and avoid burnout – everybody wins!

Young woman using a laptopWe know young people with disabilities sometimes struggle with feeling like a burden, which can make it hard to reach out for help. And when you already feel different because of your additional needs, it can be scary to say you need support with your mental health too. But remember this year’s theme: ‘mental health for all’. We all have mental health, and we all need help with our mental health sometimes. Reaching out for help, or taking steps to look after yourself even if you don’t feel “that” bad, is something to be proud of, not ashamed.

We’ve put together some groups, helplines and online resources for young people with additional needs and parent carers in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex to help you manage your mental health and wellbeing.

Young people

Amazing Futures peer support activity groups

Our Amazing Futures peer support activity groups in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex are currently meeting both face to face and online. The sessions are free, and open to young people aged 14 to 25 with special educational needs and disabilities.

The groups are a great way to make friends and get support from other young people who know what it’s like. We do loads of fun games and activities together, and use the 5 ways to wellbeing to look after our mental health and wellbeing.

Amaze mental health information for young people

cartoon of a stressed animalCheck out Amaze’s information about mental health and wellbeing for young people with SEND. It’s got loads of useful tips and info on what to do if you’re struggling.

You can also download our Easy Read fact sheets on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, and Managing Anxiety to learn more about some fun and simple ways to look after your mental health.

Tips for managing your mental health during Covid-19

  • Children and young people from our Amazing Futures groups have some useful tips and advice about coping with anxiety during Covid-19
  • This article from charity Self Injury Support from when the UK was in lockdown has some useful tips for coping with the current situation with Covid-19 when your mental health is already not great. Although we are not currently in lockdown, the advice remains just as useful and relevant to what we’re still going through.


Sometimes it is helpful to speak to a counsellor or therapist about how you feel. There are several different ways you can get counselling or therapy:

There are longer waiting times at the moment because of Covid-19, but it’s still worthwhile to reach out if you need support. Even if they can’t offer you therapy right away, they may be able to offer other kinds of support, or put you in touch with other services that can help.

Most appointments are now held over telephone or video to help keep everyone safe.

If you would prefer counselling by email, e-wellbeing offers this for young people aged 13+ in Brighton & Hove, and e-motion offers this for young people aged 12-18 in East Sussex.

Feeling suicidal or in crisis?

person sat on the floor against a wall with their head in their arms, leaning on their kneesIf you’re feeling suicidal or in crisis, you need to tell someone.

If you feel in danger right now, call 999. 

If you aren’t in danger right now but you feel very bad and like you can’t cope, you can call your doctor or 111. Or if you get support from a mental health team, you can call them.

Other crisis support options: Brighton & HoveEast Sussex

If you can, it’s also a good idea to reach out to a friend or family memberIt might be scary to tell someone, but it’s very important, and the people who care about you will want to know if you feel like this.

Parent carers

Face 2 Face befriending

Amaze’s Face 2 Face befriending project (funded by the Coronavirus Mental Health Response Fund) is a great way to get support as a parent carer from other parent carers who understand what you’re going through.

In Brighton the Breakfast Club, Autism group and Dads group all continue to meet over Zoom, and in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex you can receive support by text, telephone and email.

Walk and talk East Sussex

Graphic about walk and talk, running Thursday morning 9.15am in Eastbourne. Contact 07922851207 to book. Upcoming dates: 1st October: Hampden Park Cafe, 8th October: Gildredge Park, 15th October: Shinewater Park, 15th October: Shinewater Park (3.30pm), 22nd october: Holywell Cafe, 29th October: Fishermen's Club.The not-for-profit community organisation Holding Space offers support to parent carers who are struggling with their own mental health, or their child’s.

They are offering Walk and Talk sessions on Thursday mornings at 9.15am in a number of locations in Eastbourne (see graphic for details).

Contact them on 07922 851 207 for more information or to book.

Mindfulness groups and courses

Mindfulness can be a powerful tool for managing your mental health and wellbeing. There are a number of mindfulness groups and courses in Sussex running now or starting soon:

  • Mindfulness for the nurturing parent [pdf 156kb]
    This is a free 6 week course from East Sussex College running over Zoom on Fridays, to help you as a parent nurture and sustain your own wellbeing, learning mindfulness skills to grow your resilience to stress. Each session is 2 hours long, and there is an introductory session on Friday 23rd October at 10am so you can see if the course is right for you. See flyer for more information. To book, or if you have questions, call 030 300 38212 or email
  • Introduction to mindfulness [pdf 156kb]
    This is a free 5 week introductory course from East Sussex College, running over Zoom on Tuesdays. Learn mindfulness practices to help manage anxiety and improve your wellbeing. The first session is an introductory session to learn about mindfulness and whether it’s a good fit for you. See flyer for more information. To book, or if you have questions, call 030 300 38212 or email
  • Mindful Health groups for carers
    Mindful Health is a not-for-profit offering a free drop-in mindfulness group for carers that meets twice a month online. Contact Rachel Reed for more details on 07882 706889 or

Toolkit for parents with an anxious child

Click image to view flyer

Holding Space in East Sussex is offering a free 6 week course for parents of an anxious child aged 7 to 13.

The course will help you develop strategies and skills to help you support your child with their anxiety. For more information, or to book an exploratory phonecall, contact

Please note, spaces are limited.

Amaze website – mental health advice and info

Check out the info on our website about supporting your child with their mental health and wellbeing, as well as our page on looking after yourself.

Feeling suicidal or in crisis?

If you feel in danger right now, call 999.

If you aren’t in danger right now but you feel very bad and like you can’t cope, you can call your doctor or 111. Or if you get support from a mental health team, you can call them.

Other crisis support options: Brighton & HoveEast Sussex

phoneRemember, whatever the issue, you can contact our SENDIASS advisors on 01273 772289 or and we’ll help you talk it through and find your next steps.


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