Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) says that you have the right to the highest possible standard of health and access to good healthcare. Being healthy means living a healthy lifestyle, as well as being able to access services which can help if you are unwell or injured. When we walk about health, we mean physical and mental health. The AyeFeel campaign has a lot of information about looking after your mental health and emotional wellbeing.
NHS Scotland provides most of your healthcare, but some of your healthcare, like seeing a dentist or an optician, might be provided by a private company. Young people under 26 in Scotland are eligible for free dental care.
If you are struggling with your mental health, it's really important to speak to someone you trust and share how you're feeling. You should also speak to your GP (your family doctor) and they may refer you to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). Young Minds have a guide to CAMHS for young people. If you need to speak to someone sooner, take a look at the list of organisations that can support you if you're struggling with your mental health, there are lots of ways to contact organisations, for example on the phone, using digital chat, email or text.
Check out our guide on where to go when you’re ill and information about what happens when you see a doctor which includes some answers about what to expect, some of the questions you might be asked and confidentiality. The website Doc Ready can help you prepare for an appointment.
NHS Inform provides loads of information about different health conditions and services available to you. You can do a self-test for your symptoms to see what action you should take if you’re ill, find out about health services near you, and find information about healthy living.
If you’ve moved to a new area recently you might need to register with a new, local doctor first, before you can get an appointment. You can find your nearest doctor, as well as all the NHS services near you, using Scotland’s Service Directory.
Remember in an emergency dial 999.
Nutrition and healthy eating
Eating nutritious food is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle.
NHS Inform has useful information on how to eat a healthy, balanced diet, the health benefits of eating healthily, plus lots of other subjects.
Have a read of our guide to healthy eating, learn about healthy eats and find out how to pack a nutritious lunch. You can find loads of great ideas for healthy meals at the Eatwell Everyday site and the Eatwell Plate shows how to balance food groups to make a healthy meal.
How much eating healthily can cost is also important. You can find out more about how to keep the cost of a food shop down and watch our video with Iona Bain on money-saving tips when shopping. Don’t forget your Young Scot National Entitlement Card gets you 10% off your shop at Co-op!
It’s not all about buying food either, you can also find out how to grow your own fruit and veg and access lots of helpful information. If you’d like to find out about seasonal and locally grown food you can find out more at Food and Drink Scotland. You can also find out more about eating seasonal food.
Healthy eating can be difficult sometimes though. We know it can be hard to resist upsizing a takeaway. You can take part in Food Standard Scotland’s interactive quiz about how to avoid upsizing. You might find the ‘handy’ guide to food size portions using just your hands useful when you’re making food.
We have worked with Beat to talk about eating disorders and the support available, take a look at the video below where we talk to Kathryn Kerr a young Beat Ambassador about her experience of living with an eating disorder and where and how to get help and support.
If you want to find out about eating disorders or are looking for support, NHS Inform has more information and advice, and you can contact Beat Eating Disorders for help and support.
If you start to worry about dieting or losing weight, make sure you know about the dangers of diet pills.
Visit the Activate Your Rights homepage to find out more about your rights.