If you know a young carer, can you lend an ear of support by phone or by zoom?

Being a young carer is difficult at the best of times, but during the past year of the coronavirus pandemic, young carers are feeling more stressed, anxious, isolated and fearful than ever before.

Today is Young Carers Day 2021 and as we shine the spotlight on life as a young carer, their personal experiences – in their own words – makes for stark reading.

A study by the Carers Trust has reported a steep decline in the mental health of those classed as young carers – with some carers being as young as 12 years of age. It found that many are fearful for their futures and in the most extreme cases, young carers were looking after others for up to 90 hours per week.

The survey showed the pandemic’s dramatic impact on wider well-being:

  • 40% of young carers and 59% of young adult carers say their mental health is worse since Coronavirus.
  • 67% of young carers and 78% of young adult carers are more worried about the future since Coronavirus.
  • 66% of young carers and 74% of young adult carers are feeling more stressed since Coronavirus.
  • 69% of both young carers and young adult carers are feeling less connected to others since Coronavirus.
  • 11% of young carers and 19.7% of young adult carers report an increase of 30 hours or more in the amount of time they spend caring per week.
  • 56% of young carers say their education is suffering since Coronavirus.
  • 52% of young adult carers feel overwhelmed by the pressures they are facing now.
  • 49% of young adult carers are struggling to look after themselves.
  • 50% of young adult carers are having to spend more money due to Coronavirus.
  • 66% of young carers and 71% of young adult carers are less able to stay in touch with friends since Coronavirus.

15 year old male carer: “I am unable to do my school work properly. I am finding it hard to concentrate because I am worried about the person I care for. And my mental health is going downhill which is making this situation a lot harder.”

12-year-old female carer: “When I was in school that was the time for me. Now every day is the same.” I haven’t been able to get out and talk to all my friends after school. I haven’t been able to go over to family’s houses to stop for a break.”

16-year-old female carer: “It has made me feel major cases of depression and anxiety. I feel trapped. Before my freedom to go out was larger now I have to be careful which is fine but I don’t go out as much and I feel like I’m losing confidence and my connection with my friends. I have also been gaining a lot of pent up emotions.”

18-year-old male carer: “I feel as if it has made it more difficult to care for my father as I have been unable to take care of myself properly.”

12-year-old female carer: “I have lost contact with my friends and I have lost confidence in myself. My overall motivation is very low.”

13-year-old: “It has put more stress on me and my education and has made my anxiety so high.”

14-year-old male carer: “Caring for much longer, Too much work piled in front of me from school, no support from teachers,  not being able to contact friends quite often and having no time for myself to do things that normal teenagers are able to do.”

Local help and support

But help is out there. There are local avenues of support that understand what it is like to be a young carer and have useful information and advice. Some also organise fun things to do and give you the opportunity to meet other young carers.

These include:

More useful links

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