January can make even the most enthusiastic of us feel quite low. Cold, dreary weather, festive over-indulgence and the post-Christmas slump is enough to leave most of us feeling a bit deflated. The social reinforcement of January self-reflection is plastered across the media channels, and we are expected to enter the New Year brimming with positivity and resolution.

However, for many young people already living with mental health issues, January can be a very daunting month. Particularly for care-experienced children and young people; at least half have a mental health condition and about a quarter have had a mental health crisis since leaving care.

Mental health is consistently raised as one of the key priorities from young people themselves, but their calls for action are not being taken seriously enough and they are often left waiting for the support they need. And this is why NYAS believes it is time for large-scale change.

Mental health support is critical during major life changes such as leaving care; transitions can be make-or-break when there’s no family support network.

Our advocacy services help to support children and young people who are having difficulty accessing services, need support at mental health appointments or want to put their voice across in care plans. Advocacy can also prevent escalation of mental health issues and give individuals greater control in their lives.

Our Looked after Minds report states that every child and young person has the right to have their voices heard in decisions made about them, including when understanding and navigating mental health services.

Every child in care needs access to a range of specialist support. Meeting emotional and mental health needs must be a priority as soon as children enter the care system – and for as long as support is needed. Failing to address mental health problems will perpetuate the cycle of children going into care.

Young people can overcome adversity but need help and positive mental health to succeed in life.

For help and support please call our free phone helpline 0808 808 1001 or email help@nyas.net