This Young Carers Action Day (15 March), we want to celebrate the incredible work done by young carers every day. These young people juggle caring responsibilities with school, hobbies, and friendships, all while trying to look after their own health and mental wellbeing. This year’s theme, ‘make time for young carers’ is a call to action for us all to prioritise the needs of these unsung heroes.
Young carers in Bristol have been sharing their experiences and thoughts on the importance of making time for them and what this could look like. Here at Carers Support Centre, we recently conducted a survey to better understand how our young carers were feeling and how we can make more time for them.
The survey found that more young people are taking on caring responsibilities than ever before, with 60 per cent reporting an increase in their caring duties in the past year. This increase has also led to higher rates of depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness. Shockingly, 21 per cent of young carers reported self-harming, highlighting the urgent need for more support. Other health issues that young carers had reported include difficulties with sleep and problems with their relationship with food, with one third of young carers feeling they lead an unhealthy lifestyle. Caring duties also significantly impact young carer’s schooling, with ten per cent missing school and almost half reporting a need for more learning support.
Improved access to mental health resources, better help in schools, financial support, and breaks from caring duties were identified as key areas where more support could make a difference.
At Carers Support Centre, through our Young Carers Service, we are dedicated to making time for young carers. The service has registered 342 young carers. Last year alone, we conducted 93 young carers assessments and provided one-to-one support to 87 young carers. This support takes a blended approach using online, phone, and face-to-face methods to ensure that young carers receive the care they need in a way that works for them. With 382 breaks provided – including fun activities such as music, screen printing, cookery, kayaking, trampolining, and trips to Legoland, Go Ape and the pantomime – the Young Carers Service is committed to giving young carers the chance to relax and have fun.
The impact of our work is clear; 47 per cent of respondents said that our service was instrumental in reducing their sense of loneliness and isolation, a 19 per cent increase from the previous year. However, we understand that more still needs to be done to improve the lives of our carers. We must all make the time to listen to young carers and provide the support they need to balance their caring duties with their own needs.
The Young Carers Action Day, let’s remember the incredible work done by young carers and commit to making time for them.
See all the Young Carers Action Day videos on our YouTube channel.
Carers Support Centre:
Tel: 0117 958 9980