Young Carers

Young Carers Awareness Day 2018

Today marks Young Carers Awareness Day. The aim of the day is to identify and raise awareness of the 700,000 young carers across the UK. 

A young carer is someone aged 18 or under who helps look after a relative who has a condition, such as a disability, illness, mental health condition, or a drug or alcohol problem. Most young carers look after one of their parents or care for a brother or sister.

The 2018 campaign, presented by Carers Trust-a major charity for, with and about carers-highlights a section of carers that I was unfamiliar with, Infant young carers.

The number of infant young carers, aged 5-7, is rising at an alarming rate (83% increase since 2001). There are around 10,000 young carers between the ages of five and seven providing unpaid care, according to the most recent Census.

More needs to be done to support them and their families. Carers Trust hope that by raising awareness, it will help get the support it so desperately needs.

Help spread the word about this cause by using #youngcarers!


Influencing the influencers

I recently shared my caregiving story with teachers, social workers and counsellors for a workshop event at Lakehead University entitled Support Matters: Young Carers - Who are they and why do they need support?

It was a rousing discussion that resulted in some of the participants asking me some really interesting questions, such as if there were points when intervention could have helped. 

While I am not technically considered a young carer, which is typically categorized as someone aged 18 or under, I can certainly understand the unique circumstances young caregiver face.

I am still discovering the true impacts of this journey, even 10 years later.

Being a young caregiver can have drastically impact all aspects of life, including, but not limited to: falling behind on school, forming relationships and a higher risk for anxiety and depression.

By increasing awareness of the potential signs of a young caregiving, influencers can intervene and arrange for supports on an individual, social or community level.

My hope is that by sharing my experiences it will help support providers be more aware, empathetic and compassionate to young people, as you never know what might being going on at home. 

Sometimes all it takes is simply asking, "How are you doing?" or "Is there anything I can do to help?". 

Knowing that someone cares enough to take the time to ask can make all the difference.

Here are 10 potential signs of caregiver stress.