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Young people in care and care leavers often feel like they don’t have support or anyone to turn to. We, at In My Opinion (IMO) want you to feel like you do. 

So, in celebration of National Care Leavers Week have gathered some top tips that we think would be useful for young people in care and care leavers navigating life. 

  1. Look out for your mental health and wellbeing. Be physically active by taking up some form of exercise, have a routine, go on walks, and catch ups. Socialising can improve your mood. Take up a relaxation practise- yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and deep breathing can help reduce overall levels of stress. Engage in work and play that makes you feel useful. Invest in relationships and spend quality time with people who matter to you. There are many programs, charities, and resources available that can support you! 
  1. Ask for support if you need it. If you are struggling or feeling low, you are not alone. Try talking to someone you trust. Many of us have learned to bottle things up inside us and try to ignore painful feelings. It can take a lot of courage to tell someone else how we’re feeling or what we’re finding hard, especially if we don’t usually do that kind of thing. Just talking things through with a person we trust can help and feel like a relief. Use your own words. It’ll make you feel safer and less alone, and that will help protect your mental health and prevent problems. Talking may also change how you see and feel about the situation in ways you find helpful. Another possible benefit is that talking may strengthen your relationship with the person you speak with. This will benefit both of you and make it easier for them to turn to you when they need support themselves. 
  1. Get closer to nature. We all live with worries and fears, uncertainties, losses that leave us sad and pressures that make us feel stressed. Nature can have a really calming effect on us. 
  1. Learn to understand and manage your feelings. Feeling very upset can interfere with our lives, making it hard to think clearly or work, relax, study, sleep or deal with other people. Try writing your feelings in a diary. You could try repeating something positive about yourself a few times each day. (This is sometimes called a “mantra”. “I am on a journey, growing and developing”., for example) Research shows this reduces negative thoughts and feelings. 
  1. Contact charities-. Charities can provide help you with education, job related opportunities, mental health etc. Charities bring people together, whatever it is you care about, there will be a charity working on it. They help in lots of different ways, but the main ways are providing direct help, giving information, or raising awareness. See our support page for some charities which could help you.
  1. Make use of your local boroughs leaving care package– Find out your entitlements so that you can be aware of all your options. It’s so important to know the support that your borough provide so that if you choose to stay in education or go into work you are able to see the support available to you. 
  1. You are entitled to make a complaint– All local authorities have complaint procedures they must follow.  
  1. You have a right to an advocate- Who is there to ensure your views are being listened to and that helps you stand up for your rights. Find out more what an advocate is and how they can help you here: Coram-Voice-Advocacy-and-You.pdf My local advocacy service – Coram Voice 

We hope these tips can help you! 

Find more advice and resources around careers on IMO: 
If you need support or if you are looking for an advocate you can contact Help at Hand on 0800 528 0731, via email [email protected] or via the online contact form.  

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