Young SMILES Improving resilience for children living with parents with mental health illnesses

Girl drawing and smiling

We know it can be really difficult for parents living with serious mental health issues.

Children who live with parents with serious mental health issues can be at a greater risk of developing:

  • poor mental and physical health
  • behavioural, social and educational difficulties
  • maltreatment and neglect.

Young SMILES is a new intervention in collaboration with the University of Manchester, Barnardo's and the NHS which provides support for families to understand their mental health issues and improve their health and wellbeing.

It builds on our service, Family SMILES.

How it works

Groups of 4-6 children and young people aged 6-16 take part in activities which aim to:

  • improve their understanding of mental health
  • identify things they worry about and how they talk to their parents about this
  • develop problem solving skills to find where they can go for help and support
  • find ways they can move on together.

Parents attend 5 sessions which help them:

  • identify things their children may worry about
  • find ways to support their children
  • improve how they talk to their child about their mental health issues and its impact
  • find ways to move on together.

Keeping children safe

Find out how you can keep children safe from abuse and other dangers, both online and in the physical world.
Advice on children's safety for parents and professionals

Evaluating the impact

Find out how we're evaluating Young SMILES.

Learn more

Where Young SMILES is available


0247 622 2456


01472 803 500


01534 760800


01925 873 000


Who Young SMILES is for.

Find out more


Support and life skills for children who live with mums or dads with mental health difficulties.
Family SMILES service

Evidence Based Decisions

Reviewing family situations to protect children at risk of harm.
Evidence Based Decisions service

Family Environment: Drug Using Parents (FEDUP)

Protecting children living with adult drug and alcohol misuse.
FEDUP - Family Environment: Drug Using Parents service

Support our services

Our services help children and families who need support. With your help, we can make sure even more children are safe from abuse.

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Mental health and suicidal thoughts in children

Learn about the signs of mental health problems and suicidal thoughts in children - and find out how you can help them. 
Read our advice


Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child's basic needs. It's dangerous and children can suffer serious and long-term harm.
Read more about neglect

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