The results of a new Carers Trust Scotland survey of 214 young people reveals increasing worries leading to mental health issues during the Covid19 pandemic.
Commenting on the effects of lockdown measures on her life one carer said:
“It has made my caring role more pronounced/taken away other outlets of my life such as study. It has made me feel more isolated from my friends who don’t have caring responsibilities.”
The survey is the first of its kind to provide a base of evidence for how worries relating to Coronavirus and increased isolation caused by the lockdown has affected the mental health and wellbeing of Scotland’s young people with caring responsibilities.
It is part of a larger Carers Trust survey of young carers from across the UK.
Young carers aged 12 to 17 and young adult carers aged 18 to 25 responded to the survey.
A 12 year old who provides care for a family member said:
“I don’t get any respite, no time away or family support.”
Even before the outbreak of Coronavirus, young carers and young adult carers were all too often spending significant amounts of time caring for a relative in addition to the time they needed to spend on education, work and time for themselves.
Coronavirus has significantly increased those pressures. The survey found that 10.6% of young carers in Scotland who responded to the survey said that they had seen the number of hours they spend caring per week increase by 30 hours. A similar proportion of young adult carers reported the same increase in caring hours per week.
Most disturbing of all, 6.4% of young carers and 10.59% of young adult carers who responded to the survey, said that they are now spending over 90 hours a week caring for a family member or friend.
The pressures of caring has meant little or no time for themselves. An 18 year old young man who cares for his father said:
“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”
When asked what difference Coronavirus had made to them, 58% of young carers in Scotland said their education was suffering and 45% said their mental health had worsened. Asked the same question, 68% of young adult carers said their mental health had become worse and 42% said they had been unable to take a break from caring.
Responding to findings published today, Director of Scotland and Northern Ireland at Carers Trust, Louise Morgan, said:
“This is the first snapshot of how Coronavirus is affecting thousands of young people with caring responsibilities across Scotland. And the results are extremely concerning.
“It’s clear that the pandemic has made what was already a very worrying picture for young carers in Scotland far, far worse. That’s why we are calling for more support and more services to ensure that young people with caring responsibilities get the support they need.”
Other key findings from the survey:
69% of young carers and 76% of young adult carers in Scotland who responded to the survey felt less able to stay in touch with friends since coronavirus.
74% of young carers and 73% of young adult carers in Scotland who responded to the survey said they are feeling less connected to others since coronavirus.
69% of young carers and 76% of young adult carers in Scotland who responded to the survey said they are feeling more stressed since coronavirus.
59% of young adult carers in Scotland who responded to the survey are struggling to look after themselves.
56% of young adult carers in Scotland who responded to the survey are feeling overwhelmed by the pressures they are facing now.