Your health, wellbeing and relationships as a care leaver

It's important to take care of your physical and mental health and wellbeing to ensure that you stay fit, healthy and happy. This includes your physical and mental health.

We have put together a list of useful contacts to support services for you if you are struggling with any aspect of your health and wellbeing and you may also find these services helpful if you don't feel able to talk to your personal adviser.

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Your health passport

You will receive a health passport before you leave care, this will include useful information including how to access your health history and details of your immunisations. You can check on what illnesses or treatments you've had, any allergies you may have, and whether you have had any vaccinations. It's also useful to know of any previous medications you've taken and you may need to know about your medical history for future employers or for travel insurance purposes, for example.

If you don't have your health passport, speak to your PA. It's your right to have a record of what you have been treated for in the past. And once you have it, read it and keep it safe.

Seeing a GP

Whether you are feeling physically unwell or struggling with your mental health, contact your GP. If you're not registered with a GP then you can find local GPs on the NHS website. You will need to complete a registration form that you can get from the GP surgery. They are also likely to ask you to provide proof of identity and address as part of the registration process however you should not be refused registration or appointments if you do not have proof of address or identity to hand. If you're struggling to register, contact your PA for support.

If you move house, you'll have to tell your GP and sign up with another one that is local to you.

The dentist and opticians

Going to the dentist

Don't forget to go to the dentist for a check-up. The time between check-ups can vary from 3 months to 2 years, depending on how healthy your teeth and gums are and your risk of future problems. You can find dentists online. It's important to be aware that many dentists accept both NHS and private patients however the number of NHS patients they accept may be limited and you may need to join a waiting list. In some cases, you may also be entitled to free NHS dental treatment.

Going to the opticians

You should get your eyes checked by an optician at least every two years, or whenever you think you need to. If you are 16, 17 or 18 and in full time education then you're entitled to a free NHS eye test. You can also qualify for a free NHS eye test if you are in receipt of certain benefits. For more information visit the NHS website.

Support with your mental health

Your emotional and mental health is just as important as your physical health. If you feel you need support with your mental health, talk to someone, be it a friend, a family member, your GP or your PA.

Talk to someone, you never know, they may be able to help.

  • CAMHS Care Leavers Service - A mental health service in Surrey. You need a referral to access this service so ask your PA for details
  • Heads Together - Youth counselling in East Surrey
  • Jigsaw4u - A charity that can support you through trauma, loss and bereavement
  • YoungMinds - A charity that can help to improve your emotional wellbeing
  • Samaritans - A charity providing emotional support to those in distress, struggling to cope or feeling suicidal
  • Mind A mental health charity
  • Turn2me - Turn2me hosts online support groups on anxiety, suicidal thoughts & feelings, depression, stress management and general mental health issues. You need to book to join the sessions online. The online support groups are completely free and are run by qualified professionals who ensure every member is respected and heard. Once you select to join a group, your registration will be approved for the group and you will receive an email confirmation. Once the group is scheduled to start, you simply log on to Turn2me and the chat window will appear on the site.

Your sexual health

It can be awkward to talk about your sexual health but if you are sexually active it is really important to make sure you look after your sexual health, for both you and any partners you might have.

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need emergency contraception (the morning after pill) is available for free at some chemists and NHS walk in centres for those under the age of 25.

If you are worried about sexually transmitted infections or would like to talk about contraception, head to your GP surgery or the local sexual health clinic. Healthy Surrey is also a great website which provides information on local sexual health clinics, STIs and contraception.

Support for problems with drugs and alcohol

If you think you might have a problem with alcohol or drugs, it's important to get help sooner rather than later. There are a number of support services available to access and you can also talk to your GP and PA who will be able to find you help.

Your relationships

As a young person who has been in the care system, you may have suffered some form of loss during early childhood, and possibly trauma and/or abuse, and you may find difficult it to come to terms with your experiences as you get older.

In addition to this, your own experiences may well impact on your adult relationships both personally and professionally. Each person's journey and experiences will be different. There are various people and organisations that can help you.

Your PA can support you with advice and guidance on how to maintain healthy relationships and signpost you to further help and support suitable for your needs.

There are lots of great resources and websites that can offer tips, advice and support to help you manage your relationships. Childline have put together some advice for young people on what healthy and unhealthy relationships may look like.