Being a young carer is not a choice; it's just what we do
Results from the Carers Trust’s annual survey of Young Carers and Young Adult Carers
Carers Trust has conducted its latest annual survey of 1,109 young carers and young adult carers from across the UK.
The survey findings make for alarming reading. Young carers and young adult carers have been experiencing an intensification of their caring role for some years, with many having to spend more time on their caring role as well as having to care for more people.
But this year’s findings show the stress experienced by many young carers and young adult carers as a result of their caring role is now being exacerbated by widespread anxieties about household finances as a result of the cost-of-living crisis.
Headline survey findings
The findings suggest these pressures are having a devastating effect on mental health. These pressures are reflected in many of the answers left by young carers and young adult carers who completed the survey.
Voices from the survey
“I’d love to have kid problems. Instead, I’m saving up to try and pay our rent and to see if I can squeeze in some food at the end of it.”
“Caring never stops. Especially when it’s time to sleep, your brain constantly worries about how tomorrow will be, hospital appointments, money etc. It’s in overdrive.”
“There is a lot of pressure on me, to the detriment of my own health, wellbeing, success, happiness and future.”
“You don’t get to have bad days. If you have a bad day, the whole house can fall into disarray. It’s exhausting and traumatic.”
What Carers Trust is calling for from the UK Government
These survey findings show young carers – and the local carer organisations supporting them – need urgent and radical support from the UK Government.
Carers Trust is therefore recommending:
- The UK Government to publish a national strategy and action plan for unpaid carers in 2023.
- All schools, colleges and universities to appoint a Young Carers Lead with strategic responsibility and oversight for identifying and implementing appropriate support.
- Governments across the UK to introduce a fully resourced right to short breaks for unpaid carers with dedicated funding.
- Improved access to financial support for young carers and young adult carers, including increasing Carer’s Allowance and extending Carer’s Allowance eligibility to unpaid carers in full-time education.