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Early help and support for families

What is Early Help?

Early help is the support we give to children, young people and their families where they have additional needs that aren't being met by the usual services that are available to everyone, such as health and education.

When a family has additional needs, we make sure they have access to the extra support they need at the earliest possible stage so that things don't get worse.  

If you want information and advice about general children's services available in the borough please visit our children's services page

Schedule of activities libraries and children's centres

Physical activity

No matter how old you are, introducing regular physical activity into your daily life can improve your overall health, ease stress and improve sleep!  

Physical activity to keep you healthy


Eat healthily

A poor diet can lead to several negative side effects including cancer, diabetes, heart attack, low confidence, stroke, infertility, and high cholesterol. 

Our online healthy lifestyles programme and healthy eating advice:

Eat healthily


Mental health

The video below is from Mind, the mental health charity.


Everyone has mental health, which we need to look after as we would our physical bodies. Certain mental health issues affect more under 25's than other age group and it's important to know where you can get support:


If you think, or know someone who thinks they are suffering from depression take a look at Young Minds or the NHS website for lots of information and find out where you can get support.

Young Minds - depression 

NHS - depression


Mind, Young Minds, and the NHS offer further information about and where you can get support.  

Mind - anxiety,

Young Minds - anxiety

NHS - anxiety

Drugs and alcohol 

Studies show that abuse of drugs and alcohol and anxiety are inherently linked. The NHS can tell you where to get help and Talk to Frank can give you more information.

NHD - drug addiction help 

Talk to Frank

You can also get advice if your family member is a drug user. 

NHS - drug use

Eating disorders

BEAT and the NHS give advice about how to get support if you are suffering from an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. 


NHS - eating disorders

Autism and ADHD

These come under behavioural mental health. Those who have Autism and ADHD have different challenges to others and the NHS offers advice for people living with these conditions. 

Self harming

The NSPCC has advice on how to spot and what to do if someone you know is self harming. The NHS signposts to where you can get help.

NSPCC - self harm

NHS - self harm

Social media

Social media can be a fun way to keep in contact with friends and family, but it can also have a negative impact on your mental health. If you think this could be the case, try to limit the amount of time you spend on social media sites each day. You can talk to a counsellor at childline free of charge by calling 0800 1111.

CAMHS/Public Health 

CAMHS stand for children and adolescents mental health services. You can find out more information at CAMHS.

What's the difference between being a "moody teenager" and needing help?

As a young person, it's normal to feel a range of emotions as your bodies change and hormones kick in. But there are indicators that your bad mood may be a little bit more serious:

  • the bad mood or grumpiness persists, lasting longer than a few days
  • withdrawn socially
  • continual anger, irritability or depression
  • dramatic changes in appetite or sudden weight loss or gain

Improving your wellbeing

Mental health is as important as your physical health. How much we exercise, eat a healthy balanced diet and talk to other people about how we are feeling, can all make our mental and emotional wellbeing stronger. Check out the links below for more information:

Young Minds

Prince's Trust

NHS on mindfulness

Mind on how to improve your mental wellbeing 

NewMe healthy lifestyles 


Domestic abuse 

The below video is from Wakefield district council 

Domestic abuse (also called domestic violence or relationship abuse) is a pattern of behaviours used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.

Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence. It can happen to people who are married, living together or who are dating. It affects people of all backgrounds and education levels.

Domestic violence includes behaviours that physically harm, arouse fear, prevent a partner from doing what they wish or force them to behave in ways they do not want. It includes the use of physical and sexual violence, threats and intimidation, emotional abuse and economic deprivation. Many of these different forms of domestic violence/abuse can be occurring at any one time within the same intimate relationship.

Organisations who can help


Women's Aid

Victim Support

Men's Advice Line 


Further information

What are my legal rights?

How to get legal aid

Myth busting: will my children be taken away if I report my partner of domestic abuse?

Is domestic abuse in teenage relationships taken seriously enough? 

My fearful life: growing up with domestic violence 

If you work at Barking and Dagenham council you can get up to 10 days paid leave to help you deal with a domestic abuse situation. 

For further information please refer to our domestic abuse and sexual violence page.



Housing, money and debt advice

Finding a home and housing advice 

Help with money and debt 

Sexual health, contraception and young parents 

The NHS and other charities offer young people advice and support around sexual health, teenage pregnancy and being a young parent. You can also get free contraception from your doctor.  

Free confidential contraception advice 

Sexual health including transmitted infections

Teenage pregnancy 

Under 16 and considering abortion 

Future dads

Young parents


Help for parents and carers

Our speech, language and communication support page offers lots of information with helping your child children as they learn to listen, talk, read and make friends.

Triple P parenting programme provides online support for all parents and carers in Barking and Dagenham who have children that are under 17 years old. 

Other organisations including charities offer advice and support to parents and carers:

Ways to help ease anxiety in children

What to do if your child if refusing to go to school (school phobia)

Sorting out school problems

Bullying and cyberbullying online

Bereavement and young people

Early help for professionals

If you are a professional working with children and young people you can make a request for early help support to our Early Help Team.  

Early help for professionals