My name is Jennifer, I’m 18 and I look after my two younger brothers who are autistic.
I live in Edinburgh with my mum as well and I’m currently still in my final year of high school studying for my Highers.
I am currently working as a part time sales assistant and I can say that it is sometimes difficult when you’re battling your job, school, and your caring role at home all at the same time. It’s like being pulled into different directions and not finding the space and time for yourself to enjoy and relax. Because I live with just my brothers and my single mother it’s hard to work full time because if my mother is not around sometimes who will monitor my brothers?
There are always concerns about a student carer who is at school or university studying for exams. For me, there’s always been a constant issue about managing my studying, or not focusing at home because of my chaotic household, or being told to do chores and therefore there is no time to study. I do feel like based off my exam grades over the years my caring role has had an impact on that. I feel like I could’ve achieved more and got a higher rank in my grades if it wasn’t for my caring role.
What I hope to see in the future in terms of supporting young carers is being able to have a safe space for young carers to talk, rant and discuss any worries or issues regarding their caring role or mental health. And more overall support when they need it because what they do as a young carer is definitely not easy. I’m also hoping to see more education around young carers because it’s definitely not spoken about enough! If we can show more of that then hopefully it would be a gateway for more new young carers to come forward and send the message that they’re not alone and we’re in this together.
We need to support young carers in terms of their mental and physical health as those two aspects can really affect their wellbeing and give them the driving force they need in order to reach their full potential.