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Low Mood

It is normal for everyone to have ups and downs in their mood. Mood can be affected by a range of issues, and it is common to feel low when things are not going well. Sometimes people worry that low mood means they are becoming depressed but that is often not the case. ‘Low’ feelings improve when the stress or worry that is causing it passes.

It is important to normalise when people feel ‘low’ as being a part of life – and help young people develop coping strategies to manage ‘down days.’ However it is also important to also be mindful of when additional support might be needed.

When someone is ‘low’ they may feel; sad, anxious, worried, frustrated or angry. These feelings might be overwhelming for a few days but the person can usually distract themselves. They will mostly be able to manage day to day life and it will pass after a week or two.

The signs that this has shifted to depression might be that the child or young person is really struggling to cope with day to day life. They may have lost interest in things they used to enjoy, be withdrawn and low in self worth.

In school you might notice;
• lack of concentration, energy or excessive tiredness
• regular complaints of feeling unwell
• disagreements with peers and teachers – and social isolation

These signs will be persistent and the child or young person’s attendance and studies are likely to suffer.

If you are concerned about any child being mentally unwell then advice should be sought – ideally with the young person’s consent. If you feel the child or young person is a risk to themselves or others you should seek safeguarding advice on your next steps.


  • Society is much more tuned in to emotional wellbeing now. This is reflected in the much increased awareness of mental health and wellbeing.

    Communication is the key to helping children and young person reflect on their thoughts and feelings. This can help staff assess their wellbeing and plan the best way to support them..

    If you are concerned about a young person’s mood or behaviour decide who is best placed to talk to them– it may be they have a particularly positive relationship with some staff members.

    • Use open questions (questions that don’t allow for just ‘yes / no’ answers
    • Listen to their answers carefully and reflect what you think they have said
    • Use ‘feeling words; when you summarise what they have told you ‘It sounds to me like you are really sad your Gran is ill - and cross that your Mum won’t let you visit her’
    • Think through some ‘actions’ they could try to help them feel better; ‘when you are feeling sad what do you think might help?’
    • Make a plan with the child/ young person about what you will both do next

    There are practical suggestions that can help with low mood;

    • spend time with supportive family and friends
    • get some exercise
    • practice relaxation techniques
    • eat regularly and healthily & keep hydrated

    Establishing whether a child is struggling with low mood or depression is important and may not be immediately clear. Make plans to review how they are feeling. Help them to think where they might seek more support in and out of school

  • JustOneNorfolk information on Low Mood *here*

    Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families- advice for teachers *here*

    'I had a black dog' video 


Who can help?

For support or advice young people, families and professionals can contact:

Just One Number for Norfolk Children and Young People’s Health Services Tel: 0300 300 0123 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm Saturday 9am-1pm.

Parents can use Parentline Text messaging service: 07520 631590

Young people aged 11-19 can text Chat Health on 07480635060

Other parents who are going through or have been through this before can be a big help to you, friends or family, or you could join our online forum to speak to Norfolk Parents

CLICK HERE to find out more

Find out about the enhanced 5-19 offer ...(content required?)

And the emotional health pathway *here*


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