Supporting young carers: a guide
From an article by High Speed Training
Looking after a vulnerable or dependent person is a huge responsibility for young carers, and can significantly impact their life. They may miss out on activities, struggle to keep up in school, and face physical and mental health issues. According to the charity organisation Carers Trust, there are around 700,000 young carers in the UK. Furthermore, 80% miss out on childhood experiences, as they need to spend time caring for family or friends.
You may be positioned to help young carers. You may be able to help provide more support in their studies, help them access social support, or simply lend an ear. To do so, you need an awareness of the struggles that young carers face and what support they may require in and out of school.
High Speed Training have written about young carers and how a teacher can help. I've edited a summary for anyone who knows a young carer:
A young carer is anyone aged 18 or under who provides care to a friend or family member with a health problem, disability, addiction, or other vulnerability. Young carers often look after a dependent parent or sibling, and usually need to help with daily housework, physical and emotional care, errands, medicine, and other responsibilities.
People who require care may need a significant amount of support. If they don’t have access to professional help, the burden often falls on their children or another young carer. The problem is that young carers can’t deliver the same level of care a professional could, and they will struggle to provide care without impacting on their own wellbeing.
Caring for someone is a huge self-sacrifice and challenge for young carers. Many are in their teen years – still in the process of learning and maturing. Therefore, spending most of that time providing care can lead to them missing out on the life that children should, and need, to have to build their future and enjoy life.
Some of the difficulties young carers face include:
Poor physical health.
Poor mental health.
Difficulties at school.
Poor social life.
Low self-esteem and confidence.
How can you help a young carer?
The first and most important step is assuring the young carer that they can talk to you about their worries, whether they’re school or home-related. Otherwise, they may continue to suffer in silence out of fear of getting in trouble.
Here are five ways you can support young carers.
1. Invite young carers to talk
2. Run awareness days in church or the community.
3. Have an honest, comforting, sympathetic chat
4. Support their studies if you can - speak to teachers about their situation and need for leeway.
5. Help them access support
The types of support young carers can access include:
Mental and physical health support.
Socialising with other young carers.
A social worker from their local authority.
Calling Childline for advice and support
Your ability to support young carers could prevent a child from struggling at school and missing out on their youth. Keep these support methods in mind. You’ll help the young carer, and the person they care for, live more fulfilling lives.
Read the full article here.
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