More than half of the young carers and young adult carers have experienced an increase over the last year in the amount of time they spend supporting siblings and parents with care and support needs.
The results of a survey published today, 16th of March, Young Carers Action Day, finds that one in five of young carers said they were caring for as much as 20 to 49 hours more per week.
One young carer said: “I’m more stressed and anxious and I just feel like I need a break”.
Another said: “It’s too much pressure and responsibility for something I didn’t choose.”
And a third young carer revealed: “It affected my friendships as they didn’t understand why they couldn’t come inside the house.”
During the Covid lockdown many essential services for those being cared for by young carers were closed. That left young carers and young adult carers to take on even further caring responsibilities.
Covid continues to negatively impact the lives of young carers and young adult carers across the UK. As a result of the pandemic the survey states that:
- 59% said they felt more stressed
- 52% said they felt less connected to others
- 46% said their education was suffering
- 44% said their mental health is worse
- 41% said they were concerned about their future prospects.
This sense of anxiety in a context of loneliness and isolation is revealed in just a few of the written responses:
‘I never got a break in almost 2 years, I worked hard to keep mum out of hospital as I was scared what would happen if she went in. I never get any thanks or praise for what I do…”
“Feels never ending, I’m getting angry all the time with the person I care for although they haven’t done anything because I feel so on edge unable to have a break or get away.”
“My mental health is awful, and I really struggle to take time for myself at home. The only time I have away from my family is at school but I don’t even like going to school because I get so nervous for everything and I’m always so exhausted.“
Carers Trust Scotland has called for more support for young carers.
Recommended action includes:
- More commissioned breaks and respite for young carers and young adult carers. Carers Trust Scotland are calling on Scottish Government to introduce a right to access the regular breaks they need to support positive wellbeing, reduce social isolation, and live a fulfilled life alongside caring.
- The Scottish Government to do more to monitor how local authorities are meeting statutory duties to identify and support young carers.
- Education providers, whether schools, colleges or universities, need to take a more integrated and collaborative approach to support. This includes working in partnership with the NHS, local authorities and local carer organisations.
Link to the report: IT’S HARDER THAN ANYONE UNDERSTANDS