Health and Wellbeing

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As a young person you will likely be becoming for independent in your food choices particularly those away from home. It’s important to have a healthy, varied diet to get all the energy and nutrients you need. 

You can find helpful information on healthy eating in the resources below:

Staying active is important for keeping you healthy. It’s good to build this into your daily routine as it will help you all with feeling healthy and happy and supports sleep.

You can find links to resources on staying active below:

Your sleep plays an important part in your brain development and emotional health and wellbeing, plus it helps to make you less susceptible to colds and other minor ailments.

It is common for young people to experience changes in sleep patterns as they reach adolescence and also for there to be the temptation to stay up chatting to friends on social media, but it’s important that you have a regular sleep routine and get enough quality sleep - for someone around 12 years of age you need about 9 hours of sleep and maybe a little extra on a weekend.
Here you can find information on how to improve your sleep and build good sleep informed choices.

You can find links to resources about sleeping below:

Technology is a big part of everyday lives, and children are spending more time looking at a screen.  

Here is some information about the use of screen time 

Immunisations also known as vaccinations are important for protecting you against serious infectious diseases. Once we have been immunised, our bodies are better able to fight those diseases if we come into contact with them.  

You can learn more about immunisations in these resources: 

If you do have any more questions, please ask your school nurse

Looking after your teeth helps to protect them from dental decay, you can look after your teeth brushing them twice a day and going to the dentist. 

Everyone develops as an individual with there being no ‘normal’ development. You will go through different stages of emotional development and although there is no ‘normal’ you can learn more about key stages here.

Understanding childhood – includes puberty and adolescence

You can find out about Mental Health and local services on our Introduction to Mental Health Pages

Teenage brain

Find out more about the teenage brain in this Youtube video by the SciShow here

Find out about teenage brain development from the BBC Bitesize website here

Positive parenting is a resource for parents of children and young people with tips on how to parent a different stages. 


Here you can find reliable, honest information about alcohol and how it affects your body and mind. You can also find information if you are concerned about someone else’s alcohol use.

If you need to speak to someone about your own, a friend or a family members alcohol use you can speak to your school nurse.


In this section you can find reliable, honest information on types of drugs and how they can affect you including; what to do in an emergency and helpful resources where you can access help and advice.

If you need to speak to someone about your own, a friend or a family members drug use you can speak to your school nurse.


In this section you can find reliable, honest information about smoking and vaping and how it affects your body.

If you need to speak to someone about smoking, shisha or vape use you can speak to your school nurse.

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a procedure where the female genitals are deliberately cut, injured or changed. It is carried out for a number of cultural and social reasons in some countries, but no religious text advocates for FGM. There are no health benefits to it.

 It may be called other names such as:

  • female circumcision
  • cutting
  • sunna
  • gudniin
  • halalays
  • tahur
  • megrez

It is illegal to perform FGM, and also illegal to take a child to another country to have it done.

Types of FGM

There are 4 types of FGM:

Type I — Partial or total removal of the clitoris

Type II — Partial or total removal of the clitoris and the labia minora

Type III — Narrowing of the vaginal orifice with creation of a covering seal

Type IV — All other harmful procedures to the female genitalia for non-medical purposes, for example: pricking, piercing, incising, scraping and cauterization

Side effects

  • constant pain
  • pain and/or difficulty having sex
  • repeated infections, which can lead to infertility
  • bleeding, cysts and abscesses
  • problems passing urine or incontinence
  • depression, flashbacks and self-harm
  • problems during labour and childbirth, which can be life-threatening for mother and baby

Getting help

Help is available if you've had FGM or you're worried that you or someone you know is at risk.

If someone is in immediate danger, contact the police immediately by dialling 999.

  • If you're concerned that someone may be at risk, contact the NSPCC helpline on 0800 028 3550 or
  • If you're under pressure to have FGM performed on your daughter, ask the school nurse or GP for help, or contact the NSPCC helpline.
  • If you've had FGM, you can get help. Contact your GP for further information

FGM support clinics


    African Well Woman's Clinic – Guy's & St Thomas

Contact: Miatta Kpakra FGM Specialist Midwife 


Tel: 020 7188 6872


African Women's Health Clinic – Whittington Hospital 

Contact: Joy Clarke 


Tel: 020 7288 3482 ext 5954 Mobile: 07825 034 665

African Women's Clinic – University College Hospital

Contact: Yvonne Saruchera, Service manager


Tel: 0845 155 5000


St Mary's Hospital – Gynaecology & Midwifery Departments

Contacts: Zuriash Amare, Specialist FGM midwife

Tel: 020 3312 1060

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital FGM Service

Tel: 07812 378 363


The Department of Health and Social Care has published leaflets for patients who want to know more about FGM.

These are available in the following languages:

Mwy o wybodaeth am FGM  – Welsh version (PDF, 164kb)

ስለ ኤፍ ጂ ኤም ተጨማሪ መረጃ  – Amharic version (PDF, 472kb)

مزيد من المعلومات حول ختان الإناث  – Arabic version (PDF, 228kb)

FGM اطلاعات بیشتر درباره  – Farsi version (PDF, 207kb)

Renseignements complémentaires sur les MGF  – French version (PDF, 167kb)

Informasi selengkapnya tentang FGM  – Indonesian version (PDF, 160kb)

FGM زانیاری زیاتر دەربارەی  – Kurdish Sorani version (PDF, 245kb)

Macluumaad dheeraad ah ee ku saabsan FGM  – Somali version (PDF, 170kb)

Habari zaidi kuhusu ukeketaji wa wanawake  – Swahili version (PDF, 160kb)

ብዛዕባ ኤፍ ጂ ኤም ተወሳኺ ሓበሬታ  – Tigrinya version (PDF, 491kb)

ایف جی ایم کے بارے میں مزید معلومات  – Urdu version (PDF, 235kb)

Friendships are important to positive social, cognitive and emotional development and are associated with an increased sense of wellbeing. It is common to worry about friendships at school and as you all grow and change these can at times be challenging to navigate.

We have found some helpful resources for you around friendships, relationships and bullying.



Sex and Consent


Bullying is abuse and can have a significant impact on your emotional health and wellbeing. It may affect yourr school attendance, behaviour and performance at school. 

If you are concerned about bulling you can speak to someone you trust in school and/or your school nurse.

Here are some resources you might find helpful:


There are many methods of contraception available in the UK. The type that works best for you will depend on your health and circumstances.

Remember, the only way to protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is to use a condom every time you have sex. Other methods of contraception prevent pregnancy, but they don't protect against STIs.

To discuss this further, speak to your school nurse or click here for further information.

Long-acting/reversible contraception

Implant – Small flexible rod inserted under the skin, it slowly releases the hormone progestogen.

Intrauterine device (IUD) – A small copper and plastic devise inserted into the womb to prevent the egg being fertilised.

Intrauterine System (IUS) – A small T-shaped plastic devise inserted into the womb and releases the hormone progestogen and prevents implantation.

Hormonal contraception

Contraceptive pill

Contraceptive patch

Contraceptive implant

Contraceptive Injection

Barriers methods

Male condoms

Female condoms

Find out more about your contraception options here

Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if your contraceptive method has failed – for example, a condom has split or you've missed a pill. There are two types: 

  • the emergency contraceptive pill (sometimes called the 'morning after' pill)
  • the IUD (intrauterine device, or coil)

You need to take emergency contraception as soon as possible, as the sooner you get help, the more effective at preventing pregnancy it will be.

You can get help from your local sexual health, clinic, GP or pharmacy. Click here for more information.  


If you are pregnant or think you could be pregnant, there are a wide range of services to support you and help you discuss your options. Ask your school nurse or GP for further advice and support.

Merton sexual health services for young people

You can find out about the local sexual health services in Merton here

Getting it on - South West London sexual health services for young people

As you grow older your feelings start to change and you will start thinking differently about boys and girls. You may feel ready to start a closer relationship with someone which is exciting and a normal part of growing up. But these feelings can be complicated and are not alone. Talk to your school nurse about being ready and what a healthy relationship will mean to you. Remember the law in the UK is that you must be above the age of 16 to have sex.

When you are ready to move your relationship into a sexual one, you need to discuss things like: are you both ready for this? Sexually transmitted infections and contraception. This will allow you to talk to your partner openly about these important things which will help develop trust and closeness in your relationship. If neither of you are ready to have this discussion then perhaps you are not quite ready for a sexual relationship yet. If you are not sure you are ready (which is fine!) or want more information click here - Childline Information and Advice - Friends, Relationships and Sex. Remember you can also speak to your school nurse. More information on contraception is below or more information at Brook - Your free & confidential sexual health and wellbeing experts.

Consent is the most important concept to understand for both boys and girls wanting to undertake a healthy sexual relationship. Watch consent video here.

Any questions about consent please do speak with a trusted adult or school nurse.  

Remember, a sexual relationship is private between 2 consenting people and neither person should not be forced in any way made to do things of a sexual nature to other people for money, gifts or being part of a group. This is called sexual exploitation and can be hard to spot as you feel like you are in a loving relationship. If you think this is happening to you or a friend please speak to your school nurse or other trusted adult. More information and support is available on NSPCC website. 

Young carers are children and young people under 18 with caring responsibilities. This can be rewarding but you also have the right to be looked after. 

You can find out more about what it means to be a young carer and how to access support for you and the person/people you care for.

Carers UK resource: Young carers and carers of children

Our Time: Helping young people affected by parental mental illness 

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