Of the young carers responding to the survey, 37% said they felt ‘stressed’ while 32% said they felt ‘worried’ because of caring for someone. And 50% of those who reported stress said they ‘often’ felt that way.
The YouGov study also found that:
- Almost a quarter (23%) of young carers felt their caring role had, on at least one occasion, stopped them making friends.
- Less than half (44%) felt they got enough help with their emotions and feelings.
Not enough support for young carers’ mental health
The research also suggests that too many young carers are not getting the right support to address their negative feelings. 22% of young carers responding to the survey, who had negative feelings about caring, said they did not speak to anyone about their feelings. And just 6% said they would speak to a professional working in mental health services.
Large numbers of young carers experiencing stress and worry
In September 2018, Nottingham University and BBC News released figures suggesting there were 800,000 young carers aged 11-16 in England. (3) When considered alongside YouGov data, Carers Trust would estimate just under a quarter of a million young carers in this age group are feeling stressed and approximately 240,000 are feeling ‘worried’ because of their caring role.
Young Carers calling on public to #‘care for me too’
Young carers have made it clear to Carers Trust there needs to be far greater public awareness of the difficult and stressful responsibilities they take on.
They maintain that if their responsibilities as carers are ignored or go unnoticed, their mental wellbeing will suffer with too much expected of them without appropriate support.
This is why young carers chose #CareForMeToo as the campaign name for Young Carers Awareness Day 2019.
Carers Trust agrees and is calling for:
- Health and social care professionals to receive mandatory training pre-registration so they are more aware of young carers’ needs and better able to identify them.
- Statutory agencies from health, social care and education sectors to receive funding so they can identify and support young carers, and undertake their legal duties as required by the Children and Families Act 2014 (4).
- Schools in England to adopt the Step-by-Step Guide to identification and support for young carers in schools.
- Implementation in England of The Children and Young People’s Mental Health Provision Green Paper which must explicitly address the mental health needs of young carers.
Giles Meyer, Carers Trust CEO, said:
“Right across Britain today hundreds of thousands of young people are having to care for family members with complex needs. These problems, which many adults would struggle to deal with, range from disability and terminal illness to mental health problems, alcoholism and substance misuse.
“The YouGov survey we commissioned points to the toll these challenging responsibilities are placing on the mental wellbeing of young carers, many of whom juggle complex challenges and pressures every day.
“It’s hardly surprising therefore that so many of the young carers we speak to are crying out for help and support to ease the stress and worry they experience as a result of caring for someone. They know that, left unnoticed or ignored, these negative feelings can quickly escalate into poor mental health.
“That’s why this Young Carers Awareness Day we are calling for professionals to receive mandatory training on how to identify young carers at a much earlier stage. This will help ensure young carers and their problems do not go unnoticed, and instead get appropriate support for their mental health, preventing the build-up of long term problems with their mental health.”
Notes to editor:
Expert spokespeople from Carers Trust, and young carers, are available for interview on request.
For further information, and to arrange interviews, please contact:
Matt Whitticase on firstname.lastname@example.org and 07824 539481.
(1) All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 1,080 children aged 11-18, of which 140 currently care for someone. Fieldwork was undertaken between 21 - 31 December 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB children (aged 11-18).
(2) For more information on Young Carers Awareness Day 2019, please visit: www.carers.org/young-carers-awareness-day-2019.
(3) The research is available at: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/news/pressreleases/2018/september/children-england-care-sick-family.aspx.
(4) The Children and Families Act 2014 now gives all young carers in England a right to an assessment of their own needs, no matter how much caring they do. This means that it is the responsibility of local authorities to ensure they are identifying and supporting young carers.
Carers Trust is a major charity for, with and about carers. We work to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. www.carers.org
We do this with a UK wide network of quality assured independent partners and through the provision of grants to help carers get the extra help they need to live their own lives. With locally based Network Partners we are able to support carers in their homes through the provision of replacement care, and in the community with information, advice, emotional support, hands on practical help and access to much needed breaks. We offer specialist services for carers of people of all ages and conditions and a range of individual tailored support and group activities.
Our vision is that unpaid carers count and can access the help they need to live their lives.