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Young Carers Awareness Day
No matter what age you are, looking after someone and being a carer can be difficult and it can be especially difficult for young carers, those who are under the age of 18. Sometimes it’s not obvious that someone is a young carer, they could be looking after a friend, or family member who is sick, disabled or even misuses alcohol or drugs.
There are many different things that young carers can miss out on as they grow up. It can affect their social life, self-confidence, education and mental health. Young carers can however also learn a range of useful skills, including:
- Physical care and personal care
- Emotional support
- Finance and budgeting
- Helping to give medicine
Support available for young carers
According to the Carers Trust, 1 in 20 young carers miss school because of their caring role and a survey conducted showed that 39% of young carers said that nobody in their school was aware of their position. Many young carers believe that there isn’t enough support for them, especially when it comes to their mental health, which is why it is important to show our support and awareness for young carers.
If you are a young carer:
- Talk to your family and friends about what you are going through and ask them for the support you need.
- Remember that your teachers are there to help you. Talk to them about what is happening, they will be able to understand and can offer help, especially if you are under extra pressure.
- Your teacher may also be able to help you out with your schoolwork, giving you extra time to complete work or give you access to homework clubs.
- Your school can also put you in contact with your local young carer’s service, who will be able to talk to you in-depth about your situation as a young carer.
Seeking the help and support you need is even important for your mental health as your social life may be affected. You might feel that you currently don’t have as much time as your friends outside of school and are not included in some social activities. There is a range of organisations that can help support young carers and can give them the opportunity to meet others and give advice and support.
KIDS, a national charity founded over 47 years ago, offers a wide range of support for young carers under the age of 18. They run regular clubs where you can talk to others about your situation, meet other young carers, receive support, advice and information and also give young carers the opportunity to take regular breaks from their responsibilities so they can enjoy having fun and being young.
Action for Children
Action for Children help improve the lives of 301,000 children, teenagers, parents and carers each year and can provide practical and emotional support for young carers across the UK. They can provide individual support on a one-to-one basis, giving young people the opportunity to join planned activities and groups, they can also provide a needs assessment for young carers and their families.
Carers UK is a charity which offers information for carers of all ages and includes advice for financial support, practical support, relationship support and much more. Caring for someone can have a range of complicated matters associated with it from carer’s rights to filing paperwork and Carers UK can help you with that. They even have an expert telephone advice line and support service.
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