KEY TOPICS (12-19)

We offer confidential advice and support for all young people living or educated in the East Riding aged 12 – 19 (up to 25 for young people with special educational needs and/or disabilities).

If any of the topics below are worrying you, you can speak to one of our nurses at the school drop-ins or through our ChatHealth text messing service.

Click the titles below to reveal more information about each topic.


Abuse is always wrong and everyone has the right to be free from abuse. Abuse can be very difficult to talk about but it is important to talk to someone you trust. If you are worried about abuse, or you are worried about someone else, you can find out more by clicking here. Childline also has some really good advice around abuse and safety, so take a look.

For more information, click the following:

Advice for parents
Types of abuse


Drinking alcohol, and getting drunk affects the way you think and feel, and it can also increase the risks you take. Some people might try to cope with worries by drinking alcohol. Not only is this unhealthy for the body, but it can also be dangerous so it is important to know the facts, click here to learn more.

For more information, click the following links:

Parents and alcohol
Alcohol and underage drinking – the law
Health effects
How alcohol affects relationships
Drugs and alcohol advice for young people – East Riding
Parties and alcohol


According to the NHS allergies are very common. It is thought that they affect more than 1 in 4 people within the UK at some point in their lives. Having an allergy can be an irritation, especially if it impacts on everyday activities, but most allergic reactions are mild and can be largely kept under control. Severe reactions, anaphylaxis, can occasionally occur, but these are uncommon. If you have severe allergies you are likely to be prescribed a pen. For more information and downloadable factsheets by Allergy UK please, click here.

For more information, click the following links:

NHS – Allergies
Symptoms of anaphylaxis
Food allergy
Advice for schools


According to Childline it is healthy and natural to get angry sometimes. But what is important to remember is that there are ways to show it without hurting yourself or other people. If you’re struggling to control your behaviour, Childline has some useful advice that can help you, click here to learn more.

For more information, click the following links:

Why do I feel angry?
Tips to stay calm
Coping with stress
Getting through a tough time


If you think you might be experiencing anxiety, do not worry as you are not alone, it is really common to develop anxiety at some point in your life. There can be many different causes for anxiety and it often occurs when we are facing stressful situations. Young Minds explains that our brain wants the difficult situation to go away, so it makes us feel more alert, stops us thinking about other things, and even pumps more blood to our legs to help us run away. If you would like to know more click here.

Everyone experiences worries, but if our worries are stopping us from enjoying life and carrying out normal daily activities, it’s important to talk to someone we trust, find out more.

For more information, click the following links:

Taking care of yourself
Anxiety, stress and panic
Exam Stress
Problems sleeping
Panic attacks
Worries about the world


The death of someone close to us can have a profound impact on us emotionally. Grief has many stages:

  • sadness
  • shock, particularly if the death was unexpected
  • relief, if the death followed a long period of illness
  • guilt and regret
  • anger
  • anxiety
  • despair and helplessness
  • depression

When someone we are close to dies, it can be difficult to manage these powerful emotions. It can help to talk to someone about these feelings, and accessing the right support and advice. To learn more about bereavement and strategies to help manage grief, please take a look here.

For more information, click the following links:

Advice for parents and carers
Winston’s Wishes
Young Minds – grief and loss
Child Bereavement UK

Body Image

Body image is how we feel and think about ourselves physically. It is also how we believe others see us. You may be surprised to learn that many young people, both males, and females, experience worries about their bodies. Sometimes even people we think are confident and self-assured. To find out what you can do if you are struggling with the way you look, click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Body image and self-esteem
Social Media Makes Me Feel Bad About My Body
Advice for parents


Bullying affects many young people. It can happen in school, college, online or just about anywhere. A definition of bullying shared by BullyingUK states that bullying is a repeated behaviour which is intended to hurt someone either emotionally or physically, and is often aimed at certain people because of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation or any other aspect such as appearance or disability. At some stage of life everyone experiences bullying, this does not make it okay. Repeated bullying over a period of time can really affect a person’s confidence and self-esteem. For more information and advice about bullying, please click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Bullying – Parent Guide
Types of bullying
Bullying at school

Child sexual exploitation (CSE)

According to the NSPCC child sexual exploitation is when a child or young person is given things, like gifts, drugs, money, status, and affection, in exchange for performing sexual activities. They are often tricked into believing they are in a loving and consensual relationship and this is called grooming. Many young people trust their abuser and do not understand that they are being groomed.

If you are worried that you are being groomed or you are concerned about a friend, click here for more information by the NSPCC. Childline also explains that sometimes young people can be groomed online. Someone builds an online relationship with a young person and tricks them or pressures them into doing something sexual, learn more here.

For more information, click the following links:

Staying safe online
Sexting and sending nudes
Online gaming
Mobile phone safety

Common Health Conditions

Eczema is the name for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. It often appears on the face, behind the ears, and in the creases of the neck, knees and elbows. Atopic eczema is more common in children, often developing before their first birthday. But it may also develop for the first time in adults. For more information on eczema and its treatment please click here.

Additional Information
British skin foundation
National eczema society

According to the British skin foundation impetigo is a bacterial infection of the surface of the skin. This bacterial infection is the most common skin infection seen in young children but is also seen in people of any age. It can pass from person to person through skin-to-skin contact or via bedding, clothing, and towels and therefore can spread rapidly. For more information on the cause of impetigo and its treatment please click here.

Additional Information
NHS – Impetigo

The main symptom of epilepsy is repeated seizures. These are sudden bursts of electrical activity in the brain that temporarily affect how it functions. Seizures can affect people in different ways, depending on which part of the brain is involved. If you are a young person with epilepsy, Epilepsy Action has some great advice and support for you. Click here for more information.

Additional Information
Newly diagnosed
Support for schools
Just for kids
Information for parents of children with epilepsy


If you are thinking about having sex it is important to understand the law and consent, click here to learn more. Just because you are in a relationship with someone does not mean you have to have sex with them. It is okay to wait until you are ready. In fact, you may choose not to have sex together, as there are many other ways to feel close to someone and have fun. If you are considering having sex is important to consider if you are in a healthy relationship, and you are not feeling pressured.

Do not be embarrassed to discuss contraception together as a couple. If you are ready to have sex you are ready to talk about how you will keep yourselves safe. Both people within the relationship have an equal responsibility in accessing and using contraception to remain healthy and protected. Please remember that alongside other forms of contraception, condoms should always be used. Condoms help prevent sexual fluids from being transferred between partners, which offers protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). To learn more about the various types of contraception available, please click here.

If you would like to talk to someone about your contraceptive options you can attend one of the local Sexual Health Clinics provided by Conifer. You can also speak to your School Nurse via the drop-in or use our confidential text messaging service ChatHealth. Parents and carers can also be a really good source of support and guidance.

If appropriate you can also access Emergency Contraception via the School Nurses up to five days after unprotected sex. However, it is important to note that Emergency Contraception, often referred to as the ‘morning-after pill’, is not a suitable or appropriate form of long term contraception.

Additional Information
Having sex for the first time
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Contraception and safe sex
Health and unhealthy relationships

Criminal Exploitation

Criminal Exploitation is when individuals or organised groups target young people and encourages, or forces them in some cases, to carry out criminal activity. These activities may involve dealing drugs, stealing, committing violent or sexual acts. Young people are usually made to feel part of a close-knit group or friendship group before they are expected to participate in criminal acts and can be given drugs, alcohol, and gifts. They may also be asked to prove their loyalty by asking them to do something that may be risky or criminal. Many young people are also moved around the country to carry out crimes.

Some young people can be subjected to physical violence and threats, although this might not happen straight away. If you think you or someone you know is being exploited it is important to know that you/they are not alone and not to blame.

If you have concerns:

You can speak to your local police by dialing 101, or in an emergency 999.

If you would rather remain anonymous, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

If you notice something linked to the railways, you can report concerns to the British Transport Police by texting 61016 from your mobile. In an emergency dial 999.

If you are a young person who is worried about your involvement, or a friend’s involvement in criminal activity, speak to an adult you trust and talk to them about your concerns.

You can also call Childline on 0800 1111. Childline is a private and confidential service where you can talk to specially trained counsellors about anything that is worrying you.

Additional Information:

Staying Safe from Crime
Gun and Knife Crime
County Lines


Type 1 diabetes is a serious, lifelong condition where your blood glucose level is too high because your body cannot make a hormone called insulin. Caring for a child who has diabetes can be challenging at times. Diabetes UK has some helpful advice for parents on how to care for a child with diabetes, as well as great advice for young people on managing their diabetes. For further advice and support please click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Diabetes in schools
My life
Physical activity
NHS – Type 1 diabetes in children


Childline describes a drug as a chemical that you take into your body, which changes the way you feel and act. Of course some drugs are prescribed by a doctor to treat ill health. But when people talk about drugs they are usually referring to drugs that are illegal or unsafe. Childline have advice on the risks of taking drugs and the different types of drugs and their effects, to learn more click here. FRANK also has some really useful and honest information about drugs and illegal highs, take a look here if you would like to read more.

For more information, click the following links:

What to do in an emergency
Dealing with peer pressure
Worried about a friend?
Drugs A-Z
NSPCC advice

Eating Problems

Everyone eats differently, and it is normal for our appetite to go up and down. However, if you become very controlling over what you eat, how much you eat and when you eat, this issue may start taking over your life. Remember the body needs food to be healthy, for energy and to help our brain to function. It can be hard to tell others that you are struggling with these issues, but support and advice are available. To learn more about symptoms of eating problems and what support is available, click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Advice for parents
Body image
SEED – East Riding
Binge eating

Exam Stress

Tests and exams can be a difficult and stressful part of school/college life for many young people. In turn it can also be a challenging time for parents and carers. In today’s world young people can often feel the strain and pressure to do well in exams and this can become overwhelming. The NHS has some useful tips to help beat exam stress, take a look here. Young Minds also has some really useful advice on coping with exam stress, revision tips and dealing with disappointment, click here to learn more.

For more information, click the following links:

Exam self-care
Advice for parents
Revision tips
Exam stress and pressure
Preparing for exams

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

The NSPCC explains that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is when a female’s genitals are deliberately altered or removed for non-medical reasons. It is also known as ‘female circumcision’ or ‘cutting’ but has many other names.

FGM is illegal within the UK and is considered a form of child abuse. For many females, FGM is a very distressing experience and can cause a person to feel scared and alone. If you are worried that you may be at risk of FGM, or you have concerns about a friend, you can call ChildLine free on 0800 1111 or the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000. You can also access one-to-one support from your School Nurse, find out more here.
If you would like to understand more about the signs that FGM might take place, or the signs it has already taken place, click here. ChildLine also provide advice on FGM, click here to learn more.

For more information, click the following links:

Female Genital Mutilation Help and Advice
Daughters of Eve

Gender Identity

Stonewall defines trans (transgender) as an umbrella term to describe people whose gender is not the same as, or does not sit comfortably with, the sex they were assigned at birth. Childline explains that not every person who is trans wants to go from living as a boy to a girl (or the other way around). But some people might want to change things about themselves, such as their appearance or their body. It is important to do what feels right for you. Being non-binary means that you do not identify as either male or female. Sometimes people might feel they are both male and female, or they might feel like they are neither. When a young person is querying their gender it can be a difficult and confusing time and it is important to access support. If you would like to learn more, please click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Advice for parents and carers
Mermaids – Teens
Homophobic and transphobic bullying
Local Support Services

Low Mood

Everyone experiences low mood at some stage in their life. Difficult events and experiences can leave us in feeling low in mood or cause depression. For example, it could be friendship issues, bereavement, poor sleep, or stresses at school or at home that can lead to low mood. When feeling low in mood it is really important to find someone you can trust to talk to. Sometimes keeping a journal or diary and writing down our feelings can really help. For more advice and help please click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Coping with stress
Tough to talk
Coping with suicidal feelings
Boost your confidence
Taking time out

Mental Health Conditions

Just as your body can become unwell, your mind can become unwell too. For advice on how to cope with your feelings about your mental health and to learn more about different conditions, take a look here. Our feelings can sometimes be really upsetting or frightening, especially if you are not sure why you feel the way you do. Mind has some great advice for young people to help manage these feelings, to learn more click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Useful contacts
Physical activity and mental health
Sleep issues
Student life
LGBTIQ+ and mental health

Online Safety

The internet is a fantastic way to keep in touch with your friends and learn new things. But when you are online, gaming or using your phone it is important to stay safe. Make sure you do not share things that could put you in danger, like sharing your personal information or posting sensitive images. This advice by Childline can help you stay safe online, click here to learn more.

For more information, click the following links:

Advice by Safer Internet Centre UK
Staying safe online
Sexting and sending nudes
Online gaming
Mobile phone safety

Oral Health

A regular teeth-cleaning routine at home is essential to ensure good oral health and hygiene. The dentist can advise you on how to prevent decay and identify any dental problems early. NHS dental care is free within the UK if you are under the age of eighteen, or under nineteen and in full-time education. For more information on accessing a local dentist click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Be sugar smart
Sugar swaps
The eat well guide

Parent Divorce or Separation

If your parents have separated or are divorced or divorcing, you are not alone. Many young people have experienced a parental break up. When you first find out that your parents are separating it can feel distressing. You may experience a whole range of feelings such as denial, disbelief, anger, frustration, confusion, panic or feelings of loss and sadness. It is also possible you may feel relief.

There are things you can do to improve the way you feel, as well as useful strategies you can develop to help you cope with the changes going on around you. ChildLine recommends:

  • Ask questions
    It is okay to ask questions about what is going to happen or things you are not sure about. If you are worried about asking too many questions, sometimes it can help to write them down and give them to your parents or carer.
  • Let your feelings out
    You could write an anonymous letter, use art or music to express your feelings, or keep a mood journal. Expressing your feelings can stop them from building up and getting too much.
  • Give yourself time
    It might feel like things will never get better, especially when you have first found out. But how you feel can change over time.

You may find it helpful to talk to a friend or family member you can trust. Remember, you can also talk to your School Nurse. To find out how to contact your School Nurse click here. You can also talk confidentially and anonymously by using ChatHealth, which is our text messaging service. To find out more about ChatHealth click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Divorce and Separation
Family Problems

Stepfamilies and second families

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure can be really tricky to deal with. Our friends can mean a lot to us and so we often do everything we can to please them. Many young people fear being isolated from their group of friends, and this means they feel pressured to go along with their ideas or behaviours. But if this means taking a risk or making unhealthy choices it is important to say no and make your own choices. For more information about peer pressure, take a look here.

For more information, click the following links:

Being assertive
Tackling school gossip
Advice on peer pressure and role models


Do you think you may be pregnant?

You cannot get pregnant from kissing or touching, only from sexual activities where semen (‘come’) which contains sperm, comes into direct contact with a female’s vagina. If you had unprotected sex within the last five days or you are worried your contraception has failed to work, you may be able to use emergency contraception to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

There are two types of emergency contraception ‘Morning After Pill’:

  1. The emergency contraceptive pill (EC pill).
  2. The intrauterine device (IUD).

If you are concerned that you may be pregnant, or you feel you need Emergency Contraception you can access this support from the School Nurse. To find out when and where the East Riding School Nurse drop-ins are held please click here. You can also contact the School Nursing service through our text messaging service ChatHealth, click here to find out more.

You can also access sexual health support from Conifer Sexual Health Services or speak to your GP.

Important: For Emergency Contraception to be most effective it must be taken as soon after the unprotected sex as possible. Emergency Contraception can be accessed at most Chemists.

For more information, click the following links:

Am I pregnant?
Brook Sexual Health Advice
Teen pregnancy support
Unplanned Pregnancy

Problems at School

Some people enjoy school and college, and some young people find it challenging. If you find school or college hard, there are ways to get help. Sometimes it can be the pressure to get good results, the stresses and strains of school life, bullying, or challenging friendships that can make school or college life hard to cope with. To learn more about managing problems at school, click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Me, my school and my mental health
Tips for coping with social anxiety
Going back to school
Top tips for making friends
Building self-confidence and self-esteem
Moving schools
Starting University
Not fine in school


Puberty is the time when a young person’s body goes through lots of changes, and their body develops and grows into an adult body. Some changes are the same for both genders, and some are different. When puberty does start, girls develop breasts and start their periods. For information on the changes girls experience, click here. Boys develop a deeper voice and facial hair during puberty. For information on the changes boys experience, click here.

Girls normally start puberty around the age of 11 and boys around the age of 12. It is important to remember that these changes start at a different time for everyone, so they should not worry if their friend’s bodies are changing and their body is not. For information on the early signs of puberty click here.

Puberty can be a difficult time for young people because hormones released by the body can cause mood swings. There are lots of hormones going around the body. For girls, hormones called Oestrogen and Progesterone are the ones that lead to the most change and for boys, it is the hormone called Testosterone. Other changes that may be experienced is an increase in spots, possibly acne, and body odour. Don’t worry because puberty can also be an exciting time, as many young people also develop new emotions and feelings, start new interests and make new friends around this time.

For more information, click the following links:

Stages of puberty: what happens to boys and girls
4 You Growing up – what it’s all about
Early or delayed puberty


There are lots of reasons why people self-harm. Sometimes it can be due to feelings or thoughts that are hard to deal with. Some young people self-harm because it helps relieve tension they may be feeling. It may be that the physical pain is easier to manage than the emotional. In some circumstances, people self-harm because they feel alone, upset, angry or not good enough. Childline explains that self-harm can be really personal and complicated, so it is okay if you do not know the reasons behind self-harm. What is important is to talk to someone you trust. For some really useful advice on managing self-harm, please click here.

For more information, click the following links:

NSPCC – Self Harm
How can I help myself now?

Sexual Health and Relationships

It is perfectly normal to have questions about sex. You should never feel pressured to have sex and it is important to remember that people are not always honest about their sexual experience. It is okay to wait until the right time for you. Before you have sex it is important to find out about contraception and consent so you can make decisions that feel right for you. Click here for some great advice by Childline about sexual health and relationships. If you would like to learn more about consent, take a look at this video by Rise Above – The basics of sexual consent. To understand more about the law regarding the age of consent, click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Conifer Sexual Health Services
Conifer Clinic
Healthy and unhealthy relationships
Sexually transmitted infection advice
Your guide to Contraception

For contraceptive advice and support you can use the new CHCP ‘Reachout’ sexual health text service for young people.

Text ‘REACHOUT’ to 61825 and the Conifer Sexual Health Nurses will get back to you in three working days.

Don’t forget, you can also pop to your school drop-in to see the School Nurse  confidentially. Click here to see the time of your drop-in.

Sexuality and Coming Out

LGBTQ+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning and more. Many young people experience a time when they are confused about their sexuality or need time to work out what they are feeling and who they are as a person. Some young people know who they are attracted to, but for other people, it is not that simple, and it can take time for them to work out how they feel. For more information about sexuality, click here. If you would also like advice about ‘coming out’, please click here to learn more.

For more information, click the following links:

Advice by Stonewall
Young Stonewall
Advice for parents
LGBTIQ+ and mental health
Local Support Services


Poor sleep can lead to a difficulty in concentrating, exhaustion and low mood. It can stop you from feeling your best. But did you know that sleep deprivation can also have a profound effect on your long term physical health? According to the NHS, regular bouts of poor sleep put you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy. The Sleep Council has some great advice for teens on helping you have a good night’s sleep, click here to learn more.

For more information, click the following links:

Sleep tips for teens
Young Minds – sleep problems

Smoking and E-Cigarettes

Smoking cigarettes or cannabis is bad for your short and long term health. Cigarettes contain nicotine which makes them addictive and has been linked to anxiety. They also contain thousands of chemicals, many of which are cancer-causing.

Smoking is one of the biggest causes of death and illness in the UK. Approximately 78,000 people every year die from a smoking related illness within the UK. Smoking also increases the risk of developing more than 50 serious health conditions.

In the short term it can cause asthmatics symptoms to worsen, because the chemicals in cigarette smoke irritate and inflame the airways and lungs. Smoking can also cause a number of short term health issues such as: bad breath, yellow teeth and tooth loss, yellow staining to fingers, a persistent cough, dull sense of smell and taste, and an increase in crinkles particularly around the mouth and eyes.

Quitting smoking can be really challenging. It can be especially hard when people around us continue to smoke. If you or a friend would like to stop there is lots of help available, you don’t need to do it alone. In fact, with support you have a much better chance of quitting successfully. To learn more about HealthTrainers, who are a local smoking cessation service that provide free, confidential support to young people from age twelve upwards, click here.

E-cigarettes (vapes) are strictly regulated for safety and quality within the UK. E-cigarettes do not produce tar or carbon monoxide, which are two of the most harmful elements in cigarette smoke. However, E-cigarettes are not risk-free, as the liquid and vapour contain some potentially harmful chemicals. Click here to find out more about e-cigarette safety on the NHS Smokefree website. If you wish to quit vaping the East Riding HealthTrainers offer free, confidential help and advice to young people aged twelve upwards.

You can also speak to a school nurse if you attend an East Riding Secondary school, click here to find out more.

For more information click the following links:

Free local support to quit
Smoking Cigarettes or Cannabis
10 Benefits of Stopping Smoking
10 Self help tips to stop smoking
East Riding health and wellbeing support

Staying Healthy

Staying healthy is an important part of growing up. If you do not take care of your body it can affect you physically and emotionally. It is important that you eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, keep hydrated, and care for yourself emotionally through self-care skills.
For more information on staying healthy, take a look here. Reducing the amount of sugar in your drinks and food, as well as salt can really help your body to stay healthy.

For more information, click the following links:

Get active your way

Suicidal Thoughts

At some stage in life everyone feels low in mood and sad. Sometimes those feelings can become more intense and you can struggle to know what to do about them. You may begin to feel the only solution is to end your life, but you can get through it. Please remember that you are not on your own in having these feelings– many people feel suicidal at some time in their lives. It is important to know there are lots of ways of managing these feelings and overcoming them. If you would like further advice and support please click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Advice by Childline
Coping with suicidal feelings
Feeling lonely
Talking to an adult
East Riding CAMHS


Too much direct sun can cause risks, such as skin cancer later on in life. Sunburn can also cause pain and considerable discomfort for children. The NHS recommends that all children should have their skin protected from March to October in the UK. To learn more about sun safety click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Sunscreen and sun safety
How to get vitamin D from sunlight
Heat Exhaustion

Young Carers

Young carers often do more chores than other young people would. This can mean they have less time to do other things. They also have to learn how to look after someone else and care for their personal needs like bathing and dressing. It can be challenging at times and really hard work being a young carer. Sometimes other people do not understand your responsibilities or they do not even know you are a carer for someone. It is really important you get the support you need and take care of yourself, for more information about being a young carer by Young Minds, click here. Childline also
has some great advice, find out more here.

For more information, click the following links:

Carers UK
Taking time out
Carers Trust
Help for young carers

Young Parents

Becoming a parent is a daunting time for any parent, no matter what age you are. Sometimes young parents worry about being judged or people making comments. Keeping up with your education and socialising with your friends can be challenging. Talking to friends, family, and people you trust can really help. It is also important to spend time with them so that you feel less isolated or alone. Remember, it is okay to ask for help as it is not always easy when you have a baby to care for. ChildLine has some useful advice for young parents, click here to learn more.

The ISPHN Service offers young parents additional support through the Family Nurse Partnership (FNP). Their support is offered to first-time mothers aged 19 years and under at conception, who live in the East Riding. An FNP is a specially trained family nurse. If you decide you would like to join the program, you and your family nurse will meet regularly and usually visits every 1 or 2 weeks from early in pregnancy right through until your child turns two years of age. To learn more please, click here.

For more information, click the following links:

Tips for new parents
Services and support for parents
Teen pregnancy support