Young people today tend to get a pretty bad press. Sadly, they can face prejudice of their elders for whom "they don't know they're born" or "it wasn't like that in my day".

What perhaps people do not apprecdiate or realise is that in the 21st century, young people are subjected to the kind of pressures that didn't exist just 15 years ago never mind 30 to 40 years ago!

The advent of mass media communications including social media is just one of the factors bringing increased lifestyle pressures to bear on young people.

And many of them do not know where to look for help.

That is why it is important to let young people know where they can find the help they need.

Jane Fellowes

How Can They Be Helped?

Life can be difficult for everyone at times, and often it is useful to speak to someone about things that are worrying you and affecting your life.

The Brent Centre for Young People help many young people who are dealing with a range of different issues including feeling low or depressed, having difficulties with their anger, violence, worries about eating, drug and alcohol use, and relationship problems.

Over the years they have worked with many young people using talking therapies to help them think about their feelings and any choices or changes they would like to make. Their therapists are there to help you and anything discussed will be kept confidential.

They offer a range of services that are helpful and convenient to each young person that needs support. Some therapies will be short term, some long term, some will be just for you, and some could involve your family or peers.

Adolescent Exploratory Therapy (AET)

Most young people go to their Centre for individual sessions called Adolescent Exploratory Therapy. AET is a non intensive, short term talking therapy and is a good opportunity to explore feelings and begin to understand what is worrying an individual. AET sessions are usually weekly but can be fortnightly and each session lasts 45 minutes. The therapist will think with you about what best suits your needs when planning your sessions.


Some young people go to the Centre for AET and after a while, make a decision to commit to something more long term. Psychotherapy can be offered for between 1-3 years. Psychotherapy sessions may be once, twice or three times a week, and each session will last 50 minutes. Psychotherapy is similar to AET but is more intensive and helps you to explore your feelings and worries in more depth.

Family Appointments

Other young people that attend the Centre are experiencing difficulties that are best addressed with their families or carers. They may be struggling with something outside of their home which has become so difficult that it is affecting their relationships with parents and siblings. Or something may have happened within the family that causes disruption and breakdown in relationships. If this is the case, often it is helpful for other members of their family to come to sessions with you so that you can think together with a therapist and begin to work on things you would like to change.

Mental Health Support and Engagement service

Many young people have practical issues they need to work through such as finding a job, writing a CV, finding somewhere to live and applying for benefits. The centre try their best to offer every young person an initial appointment within two weeks of them contacting us. If they need help with practical issues, their staff can offer this alongside therapy. By coming to BCYP, young people can access help and support for both practical and emotional needs in the same place.


Not everyone can or would want attend the Centre for sessions, but still have worries that they would like to discuss with their staff. Their staff work in 8 different schools and see young people to talk and think about their anxieties. Their sessions in schools involve groups of young people discussing issues that affect their lives. Individual sessions are also available at schools.

To find out more, click here.

Their therapists also provide sessions for young offenders at the offending service. These sessions run similarly to those within schools, giving young people room and time to think about anything that worries or affects them.

What happens next?

If you would like to speak to someone about any of their services, click here

Specialist Help For Eating Disorders

Worries about body shape, eating and weight are quite common in young people and especially girls. Health problems can arise from being very obese or overweight.

Normally, an overweight person can correct their weight issue by modifying their eating habits and trying to eat more healthily. However, while on the face of it this may sound easy but some young people with chronic or acute conditions will probably require help to achieve this.

What Is An Eating Disorder?

A consequence of today’s fashion conscious society means that lots of younger people want to have a thinner body shape even if they don’t happen to be overweight in the first place!

So they begin to try and lose a bit of weight by skipping their meals or trying a diet. For some of these people, their concern about weight can transform into an obsession.

When this happens, the person or sufferer is well on the way to developing a serious eating disorder. While fashion consciousness can predicate eating disorders, quite often other underlying psychological or personality issues can trigger them as well.

The most common eating disorders include :

  - Anorexia nervosa
  - Bulimia nervosa
  - Binge eating disorder
  - EDNOS – Eating disorder not otherwise specified

An individual with anorexia tends to be constantly obsessed about being overweight. As a result, they tend to eat very little or even starve themselves to control their body weight! So they lose excessive amounts of weight to the extent where their overall health starts to deteriorate.

A bulimia nervosa sufferer is also worried about their weight. However they exert control by alternating between bingeing on food then taking laxatives, self induced vomiting, eating very little or a mixture of these behaviours.

Although eating disorders are more prevalent in females, they are becoming more prevalent in males. What’s more, eating disorders affect all types of young people irrespective of their cultural background. Here are a few warning signs that can be present in an eating disorder sufferer:

  - avoiding “fattening” food, skipping meals and eating sparsely
  - feeling overweight even if they are not and especially if they are underweight Losing weight especially significant weight loss
  - obsessing about food
  - targeting weight loss and counting calories Insisting on preparing meals
  - over-exercising in a secretive manner
  - using the lavatory after a meal has been consumed
  - significant quantities of food missing from kitchen cupboards
  - secret eating of food away from the prying eyes of the public or family
  - deliberate self induced vomiting
  - using other means like laxatives to control weight
  - women’s periods becoming irregular or stopping altogether

It can be really difficult for parents, friends, families or teachers to discern the difference between a normal weight loss diet and the manifestation of a more serious problem.

If you know an individual and are concerned about their health and relative weight, it is important to consult your doctor and get expert specialist help and advice from qualified agencies with eating disorder expertise.