Parent sits with their arm around their child to reassure them.

Characteristics of someone to turn to

Practical tools for support
Schools, Community support, NHS staff and commissioners, Youth workers

This resource covers:

Information and advice on the different characteristics of what can make a young person see an adult as trusted.

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What makes an adult someone to turn to?

We asked young people to share their thoughts and experiences of what makes an adult someone they can turn to when they're struggling with their mental health. 

Someone who is really open-minded and doesn’t come into a conversation with a young person with any preconceived ideas about what they’ve experienced and why they are feeling a certain way. It’s somebody that doesn’t try to fix the young person rather than fix the feelings they’re going through, just supports them instead to help them feel better. They need to be trustworthy, caring, they need to be support and make sure they have your back. They need to make sure they have a positive influence on you because you look up to them.
A group of young people playing basketball with an older Black man. The group of young people includes: one white young man, one white non-binary teenager and one Black young woman.

Poster resource

Download our poster on what makes an adult someone to turn to about mental health to share with your community.

Document type: PDF Document size: 11.6MB

Download the poster

What makes an adult someone to turn about your mental health?

  • Open-minded

    They are reflective, considerate and have good knowledge of the young person.

  • Patient

    They are patient and know when to listen.

  • Comforting

    They are comforting with a calm tone of voice and have the ability to manage their own reactions.

  • Observant

    They notice the young person.

  • Reliable

    They are honest with clear boundaries.

  • Supportive

    They are supportive and hold the emotions safely for the young person.

  • Big-hearted

    They are big-hearted with empathy, connection, and a sense of calm.

  • Committed

    They stand alongside the young person.

A group of two young people and an adult sitting on the grass in the park and laughing together.

Supporting young people in your community

Whether you work at a youth club, coach a sports team, or run extra-curricular activities outside of school, we know the positive and crucial role you play in the lives of young people but understand you may often feel under-equipped to support them.

We have lots of new information, tips, and advice to help you feel prepared to support young people in your community.

Find out more

Mental health training

Our training courses are designed to build your understanding of key mental health issues and give you the confidence to make a difference in young people's lives.

Take a look at our courses and see how our expert trainers can give you the practical skills to support young people in the community.

Find out more about our training

Whether you love the page or think something is missing, we appreciate your feedback. It all helps us to support more young people with their mental health.

Please be aware that this form isn’t a mental health support service. If you or a young person you work with is in crisis right now and wants to talk to someone urgently, find out who to contact on our urgent help page.

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This form is not a mental health support service. We cannot reply to this. If you or a young person you know is at immediate risk of harm, call 999 and ask for an ambulance or go to your nearest A&E. If you are worried about the mental health of a young person you work with, you can signpost them to our website or suggest they contact one of these helplines: Childline (for under 19s) on 0800 11 11; or Samaritans on 116 123.

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