New video launched to tackle loneliness in young carers
It's Young Carers Action Day on 16 March and Carer Support Wiltshire is raising awareness and reaching out to young people looking after someone with a new video, thanks to funding from Carers Trust.
Young Carers Action Day is an annual event raising public awareness of young carers and young adult carers, the pressures and challenges they face, and the incredible contribution they make by caring for their family members and friends. The theme for 2022 is Action on Loneliness.
The new video aims to encourage young carers and young adult carers to seek support from someone at their school or college, their doctor or someone they trust to help reduce their isolation and get support.
Across the UK, thousands of young people look after a family member, partner or friend who couldn't otherwise manage without them. From helping with practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping; to physical care, such as helping someone out of bed, and emotional support, young carers can find that looking after someone takes up a lot of their time.
Celina, a young adult carer, has been looking after her mum and siblings since she was 11 years old, but didn't get support until she was 16.
I look after my mum who has cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, agoraphobia and other mental health issues. COVID meant I struggled to go out for about a year and a half and felt quite isolated and alone. A lot of my friends didn't understand how I was feeling - it was hard to explain that I didn't want to go out because I didn't want to bring anything back into the house.
Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet Member for Children's Services at Wiltshire Council, said:
We are aware that around one in five young people are caring for someone - whether a parent, grandparent, sibling or family friend. Our Child and Youth Voice Team carried out a consultation with 92 young carers last year, gathering views on the support they receive and giving them an opportunity to share this feedback with senior leaders at Wiltshire Council in a 'meet the leaders' session in November. We are now implementing an action plan to take forward their recommendations, to improve services for Wiltshire's young carers.
We would like to say a huge thank you to the young carers across our county, for the care they provide and the selfless commitment they have to carry out this role. Some children and young adults may not realise they are a carer, and we would urge young people who are looking after someone to get in touch with their teacher, tutor or Carer Support Wiltshire as there is a network of support ready to help you.
Findings from a Carers Trust young carers and young adult carers survey released for Young Carers Action Day found that 'at least a third of respondents said their caring role resulted in them either 'always' or 'usually' feeling 'worried' (36%), 'lonely' (33%) or 'stressed' (42%)'.
The same survey found that 40% of young carers and young adult carers said they 'never' or 'not often' had someone to talk to at school about being a young carer.
The new short video featuring young adult carer Celina has been sent out to schools and colleges in Wiltshire and can be found on Carer Support Wiltshire's website at Carer Support Wiltshire: Young Carer Action Day 2022 – Taking action on isolation.
Celina's advice is:
If you are a young carer, don't be afraid to say who you look after and get the help you need. I struggled a lot when I was younger because I wouldn't go out unless it was for school. I wouldn't want people to feel the same way as I did. Get the support you need and meet new friends.
Carer Support Wiltshire has helped me get out more, helped me get funding for college, helped with my anxiety and helped my younger siblings get support too.
Carer Support Wiltshire are also attending The Wellington Academy, Tidworth on Young Carer Action Day to support them in their week of raising awareness for young carers.
You can find information about Young Carers Action Day through #YoungCarersActionDay on social media. Carer Support Wiltshire has lots of information for younger carers, parents and professionals on their dedicated website Carers Support Wiltshire: Young Carers.