Health and Wellbeing - Leaving Care

Health care to stay fit and healthy

You have the right to good health care to help you stay fit and healthy. A big part of staying healthy is eating a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise.

Sometimes you may become poorly or need some advice about a health issue. We have included some information below about how you can access health advice whilst you are in care and for when you have left care.

The Named Nurse for Looked After Children and Young People (LAC/YP)

The Named Nurse LAC/YP is a qualified registered nurse with a specialised degree in health visiting/public health, midwifery or school nursing. The Named Nurse has further specialised experience with Children and Young People Looked After and they can offer you:

  • advice on health promotion services where you live
  • help with stopping smoking, drug and alcohol issues, contraception and counselling
  • a health appointment at a venue suitable to you or a telephone consultation

If you do have any concerns about your health, you can ask to speak to the Named Nurse for Looked after Children at any time by contacting you Social Worker or Personal Advisor. It can be really useful to be able to ask questions, in confidence that might be worrying you about any health matter. Up to the age of 18 you will have regular health assessments carried out by GP/LAC Nurse.

After your final health assessment before you turn 18 you will be sent a Health Passport (health summary) which will include your immunisation record, a copy of your last health assessment, how to access a:

  • GP
  • dentist
  • optician

and where to go for health advice and information. Your Social Worker will support you to ensure you are registered with a GP and dentist when you leave care.

Health Information

You should register with a local National Health Doctor (GP) and dentist as soon as you move home. You can find out where the nearest Doctor and Dental surgery are by accessing the NHS Service Search where you will be asked for your postcode

NHS 111 service

111 is the NHS non-emergency number. It’s fast, easy and free. Call 111 and speak to a highly trained Advisor, supported by healthcare professionals. They will ask you a series of questions to assess your symptoms and immediately direct you to the best medical care for you. NHS 111 is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Calls are free from landlines and mobile phones.

When to use 111

You should use the NHS 111 service if you urgently need medical help or advice but not a life-threatening situation.

Call 111 if:

  • you need medical help fast but it's not a 999 emergency
  • you think you need to go to A&E or need another NHS urgent care service
  • you don't know who to call or you don't have a GP to call
  • you need health information or reassurance about what to do next

For less urgent health needs, contact your GP or local pharmacist in the usual way.

If a health professional has given you a specific phone number to call when you are concerned about your condition, continue to use that number. For immediate, life-threatening emergencies, continue to call 999.

Dental Care

You may be eligible for some financial support towards dental checks/treatment if you are:

  • aged 16 to 18 years in full time education
  • pregnant or had a baby in the last 12 months
  • having treatment as an in-patient or out-patient at an NHS hospital
  • receiving Income Support, Universal credit, Income Based Employment and Support Allowance or Job Seekers Allowance.
  • on a low income and have a Health Credit Certificate (Known as HC2 or HC3 certificate)

Eye Care

You may also be eligible for free eye tests and vouchers towards glasses / contact lenses if you are:

  • aged 16 to 18 and in full time education
  • receiving Income Support, Income Based Employment and Support, or Job Seekers Allowance
  • on a low income and have a Health Credit Certificate (Known as HC2 or HC3 certificate)


We can give you advice and support about paying for prescriptions but we are not able to pay for the costs of prescriptions for you to get medication. You are eligible for free prescriptions if you are:

  • aged 16 to 18 and in full time education
  • receiving Income Support, Income Based Employment and Support, or Job Seekers Allowance
  • pregnant or have had a baby in the last 12 months (you will need an exemption certificate from your GP)
  • receiving treatment in hospital

Support on a low income

If you are on a low income, you can apply for a Health Credit Certificate known as HC2 or HC3. This will give you reduced cost, or free dental and eye checks / treatment as well as prescription charges. This is dependent on your income and needs at the time you apply for support. A certificate can last from 6 months to 5 years depending on your circumstances. 

To find out more, ask your:

  • GP
  • dentist
  • optician
  • ask your Social Worker / Personal Advisor to help you apply

Emotional Wellbeing

Becoming an adult can be a very exciting time as you gain more independence but it can also be a time that can make you feel worried as it comes with more responsibilities. If you are reading this, you have probably come through some difficult experiences, both in your birth family and then while you have been in care. To have survived these experiences you may have had to become strong and to cope with change. You may also have experienced emotional difficulties which can be a result of living through hard times. We all need to look after ourselves and our emotional wellbeing. Here are a few tips to help:

  • keep physically active or sign up for activities that you are good at or you enjoy that will help you to feel good about yourself; also being in education or working can give you direction and boost your confidence
  • stay in contact with important people in your life, such a friend or, a previous foster carer or key worker, who can give you practical and emotional help, which is important to improve the chances of not feeling alone
  • it is common to seek out your birth family around this time; sometimes these relationships can become complicated so be mindful about whether these relationships make you feel good or not so good about yourself

Sometimes people find the process really difficult and sometimes more is needed. Below are a few indicators, which might help you to recognise whether you or someone you know is having a difficult time coping:

  • mood swings
  • behaving erratically or having unpredictable behaviours
  • feeling agitated or anxious
  • withdrawing from friends or family or avoiding social interaction
  • unexplained or long periods crying
  • loss of appetite / can’t sleep at night
  • feeling paranoid / hearing voices
  • having poor physical health
  • having thoughts of suicide or self-harming

It is important to notice if these are happening because they can have an effect on your ability to deal with everyday life, including:

  • staying in education
  • finding employment
  • managing your tenancy
  • sustaining relationships

Some young people turn to drugs and/or alcohol to help them cope, which make the situation worse.

Young people can find it difficult to ask for help because it makes them feel weak or they are worried about being labelled as not coping. Knowing when and where to ask for help is essential to prevent the situation from becoming worse. If you notice a difference in how you are feeling it is important that you speak to someone who can help you get in touch with a service that can help.

Below is a list of a few services available in Southend-on-Sea:

Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Services (EWMHS)

This service is for anybody aged 0 to 18, living in the:

  • Southend
  • Essex
  • Thurrock areas

The service is also for young people with special educational needs (SEN) up to the age of 25. Any young person experiencing emotional wellbeing or mental health problems may access the service. 

Call 0300 300 1600 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday to be put through to the Locality teams across:

  • Southend
  • Essex
  • Thurrock

For the out of hours and weekend Crisis Support Service, call the general NELFT switchboard on 0300 555 1201 to be put through to immediate Crisis Support help. For further advice and support, please go to the Livewell website or The Schools Learning Network Website.

If you live outside of Southend-On-Sea ask your GP to make a referral to a local counselling service. If the situation is urgent, you should call A&E on 999.

Substance Misuse


The legal age to drink alcohol is 18 years old. For under 18 year olds, it is illegal to buy alcoholic drinks or to ask someone over 18 to buy alcohol for you. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it slows the function of the central nervous system. Alcohol actually blocks some of the messages trying to get to the brain. This alters a person's:

  • perceptions
  • emotions
  • movement
  • vision
  • hearing

When large amounts of alcohol are drunk in a short period, alcohol poisoning can result. Alcohol poisoning is exactly what it sounds like; the body has become poisoned by large amounts of alcohol. Violent vomiting is usually the first symptom of alcohol poisoning.

  • extreme sleepiness
  • unconsciousness
  • difficulty breathing
  • dangerously low blood sugar
  • seizures
  • death may even result

If you need any help or advice about alcohol then you can always talk to your Social Worker / Personal Advisor who may make a referral to a specialist organisation.


Drugs are illegal and can be incredibly unpredictable. The effects that drugs can have vary from one person to another. Some drugs come in pill or tablet form, which are usually swallowed; some come in a powder form which can be snorted, smoked or injected, and some are in an herb or resin form which is usually smoked. Depending on the drug, the effects vary greatly but most give the user a ‘high’ and it is this high that can become addictive. However, after every high there is a come-down and they can be very unpleasant. Drugs can also lead to life threatening diseases and death. There are many reasons that you may begin taking drugs. The most common reason is pressure from friends.  

Do you need help?

Worried about drugs or want some information? You can call FRANK confidentially and for free from a landline, 24 hours a day on 0800 776600, or visit Talk to FRANK. FRANK offers a confidential, non-judgemental drugs advice, information and support about legal and illegal substances.  Don’t forget you can also talk to your Social Worker / Personal Advisor or one of the organisations listed in this handbook.

Below is a list of a few services available in Southend-on-Sea:

Young People's Drug and Alcohol Team (YPDAT)

A treatment provision for young people under 18 who live in Southend to address drug and/or alcohol misuse. YPDAT also provides a service for 18-21 year olds with drug misuse issues (up to 25 if you are a care leaver). This service will work with those who are misusing a wide range of substances. Those over the age of 18 who are misusing opiates and/or crack cocaine will be referred to Southend Treatment and Recovery Service (CGL).

Civic 2
Victoria Avenue

Monday to Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Thursday: 9am to 7pm (4pm to 7pm is Drop-In)

Telephone: 01702 534300 / 01702 534786


STARS (Southend Treatment and Recovery Service)

STARS are the providers of adult specialist substance misuse treatment in Southend.  STARS provide advice, information and treatment to anyone over the age of 18 who is looking to address their drug and/or alcohol use.

STARS provide a range of services including:

  • structured support groups
  • 1-1 key working
  • women-only sessions etc

 and can also facilitate access to residential treatment placements where appropriate.

25-27, Weston Road
Essex SS1 1BB

Telephone: 01702 431889


Contact Leaving Care

Telephone: 01702 212087

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