Young Carers Awareness Day is a national day of recognition for the UK’s young carers and this year’s theme is mental health.
Caring is a risk factor for children and young people’s mental health but this is an issue that is still overlooked. In 2017, 120 young carers in Gloucestershire took part in a survey and 80% told us they feel closer to their family. But 74% told us they regularly feel angry and 72% regularly felt worried. ‘YCAD’ gives us an opportunity to highlight the importance of meeting the mental health needs of young carers to address those statistics.
YACtion, the GYC forum for young adult carers, were keen to tell you why it was important that we talked about this issue…. so the rest of this is written by them!
Why is it important that young carers mental health is prioritised?
Being a young carer stresses you out and we take on more than most people are aware of. If you’ve been a carer for a long time it can definitely impact your mental health. Not everyone knows about carers and so sometimes we feel misunderstood or even ignored. When things are bad (when cared for’s condition gets worse or other family crisis) it affects every area of my life – friends, school, my health etc. We often feel stressed, low and anxious as we never know what we will come home to.
As a carer I know I need to look after myself but I don’t have much time and it’s hard to socialise. Friends don’t always understand.
School/college can be stressful but it’s a place to escape to. We know they don’t have the resources they need to always support us, they want to do more but there’s not enough time or funding.
Young Carers Awareness Day helps as the more people know about young carers, the more understanding they’ll be. GYC run assemblies on young carers and hopefully the children who go to these will be better friends to young carers. Also if we talk loudly enough…maybe decision makers will hear and invest more in support so schools, colleges and support services can offer extra help!
If you’re a young carer or young adult carer, we’ve also created a guide for you on looking after your wellbeing. Read it here: (LINK TO YAC GUIDE TO HAPPY HEALTHY LIVING).
Please share this on social media with #AwareTheyCare and link to Gloucestershire Young Carers. Also to read more about how you can get involved with the national #CareForMeToo campaign go to the Carers Trust website: https://carers.org/how-support-careformetoo-campaign
Part 2 to follow soon…