The state health system's lack of consistent mental health provision is damaging to young people in care, according to the director of development for social care at Ofsted.
John Goldup has said that the lack of services can create "circumstances in which not getting access to the right treatment at the right time can have very damaging consequences".
Mr Goldup's comments follow a report from Ofsted which revealed that young people in care are not receiving consistent access to child and adolescent mental health services.
In some areas, there is no access at all while in others it was insufficient.
The mental health professional added that the stigma attached to mental health can make it particularly difficult to assess, although a "very high proportion of us will experience mental health problems at some point in our lives".
According to the YoungMinds website, between one in 12 and one in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm as a result of mental health issues.
On top of this, there are nearly 80,000 children or young people suffering from severe depression, many of which are under ten-years old.