Services don’t understand mental health of the looked after

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Education, social and mental health services are not aware enough of the mental health needs of looked after children and young people, says a new report by YoungMinds. With a great deal of stigma still surrounding the issue, many young people have a negative image of mental health services, which are often seen as being for those who have particularly serious problems.

The charity ran creative workshops with 50 young people from residential homes, secure settings and foster placements focusing on the issues of placements, education and support services. Residential child care workers and supervising social workers were also consulted.

Most of the young people felt that their emotional needs were not understood and that school staff, in particular, were ill-equipped to talk about such issues as they did not have experience of the care system.

The report, Improving the Mental Health of Looked After Young People, makes a number of targeted recommendations for education, social and mental health services. It can be found at: www.youngminds.org.uk

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