Young Carers Action Day 2022 – Taking Action on Isolation
“It’s harder than anyone understands, and I feel like I’m drowning.”
New survey identifies steep rise in caring hours for young carers.
Carers Trust calls for more support for young carers after survey finds many feeling stressed, lonely and worried.
To mark Young Carers Action Day this year, Carers Trust is releasing findings from a new survey of young carers and young adult carers.
We surveyed young carers and young adult carers from across the UK. And the results are concerning. Many have experienced a steep rise in the number of hours they spend on their caring role each week. And many are being left alone to cope with the pressure of juggling schoolwork with their complex caring responsibilities.
Headline survey findings
- More than half (53%) of young carers and young adult carers said the amount of time they spend caring per week had increased in the past year.
- At least a third of respondents said their caring role resulted in them either ‘always’ or ‘usually’ feeling ‘worried’ (36%), ‘lonely’ (33%) or ‘stressed’ (42%).
- 40% of young carers and young adult carers responding to the survey said they ‘never’ or ‘not often’ had someone to talk to at school about being a young carer.
- 52% of young carers and young adult carers responding to the survey said they ‘never’ or ‘not often’ got support from their school, college or university in balancing study with their caring role.
And as a result of anxieties arising from coronavirus and lockdowns:
- 47% 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.
What young carers told us when they responded to the survey
The impact of this lack of support was made clear in many of the written responses to the survey.
One young carer said “it’s harder than anyone understands and I feel like I’m drowning”.
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.”
“They don't understand when I'm late arriving to school … my mum can't get up most mornings.”
“My school doesn't care that I'm a young carer, they force me to come to school even when I've been up all night looking after [the person I care for], I am so burned out.”
What needs to be done now?
Carers Trust is responding to the survey findings by calling on the UK government, the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and other stakeholders, to take action to address isolation among young carers and young adult carers. Recommended action includes:
- More commissioned breaks and respite for young carers and young adult carers. Local carer organisations who provide dedicated young carer and young adult carer services are well placed to deliver these, in partnership with local authorities and the wider voluntary sector.
- The UK government and the devolved administrations to do more to monitor how local authorities are meeting statutory duties to identify and support young carers and young adult carers, including funded support packages which help young carers, young adult carers and their families.
- 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.
- Young carers and young adult carers to be given priority access to mental health support and services.