Young carers in Scotland are hiding responsibilities from friends due to bullying and lack of understanding.

Young carers at the Scotland Young Carers Festival in 2012

Research conducted by Carers Trust Scotland has revealed that 40% of young carers have not told their friends about their caring role.

Three in four said that they didn't think their friends would understand and half had a fear of being bullied.

The survey, which reached 136 young carers aged 5-18, also found that only 15% of young carers had told all of their friends about their caring role.

Download the survey of young carers in Scotland results (PDF, 90KB)

Scottish Young Carers Festival providing a break

The research comes on the eve of the Scottish Young Carers Festival which is on 2-4 August.

The event sees around 600 young carers come together from all over Scotland and is organised by Carers Trust Scotland.

It provides a national platform for young carers to share their experiences of being a young carer, the impact it has on them and to suggest changes that could make their lives better.

An equally vital aspect of the festival is to provide young carers with a much needed break from their caring responsibilities, speak to other young people in similar situations, share new experiences and of course have fun.

Providing a support network that 'understands'

Louise Morgan, Young Carers Development Manager at Carers Trust Scotland, said: 

"The young carers at the Festival frequently tell us that they struggle to confide in their friends, as they feel friends don't always understand what being a young carer means.

"This is why they value the friendships that they make at their young carers services and the festival so much, as it provides them with a support network that understands. 

Being a young carer is something to be proud of.

"We want to reinforce that message and increase awareness about young carers in Scotland so that these incredible young people can talk about their lives openly and without fear of judgement."

Improving outcomes for carers

On the final day of the festival, which is part-funded by the Scottish Government, they will be joined by Jeane Freeman MSP, Minister for Social Security.

Other guests coming along on Thursday will include Scottish Government Ministers, MSPs, councillors and health, education and council officials.

Over its eight year history, the responses from this massive consultation have influenced the development and implementation of national strategy, policy and guidance to improve outcomes for young carers locally and Scotland-wide.

Supporting young carers in Scotland

How do carers groups and the Scottish Young Carers Festival help and support young carers? Find out in this consultation video from the 2015 event:

See all Scottish Young Carers Festival 2015 video highlights