People urged to 'walk a mile in young carers shoes' for awareness day
PUBLISHED: 17:31 30 January 2019
It’s Young Carers Awareness Day tomorrow – a day to celebrate, recognise and raise awareness about young carers in the UK.
The focus this year is young carers’ mental health. The pressures of caring can lead to mental health problems, anxiety and stress and the Carers Trust, which oversees the day, wants to improve awareness about the mental health support needs of young carers.
To tie in with the day, Carers in Hertfordshire – the countywide charity that supports unpaid carers looking after someone ill, disabled, elderly or who misuses drugs or alcohol – is calling for people to get involved and ‘Walk a mile in young carers’ shoes’.
This could involve thinking think about what young carers’ lives are like, their priorities, feelings and experiences and taking action to help.
Laura Green, one of the charity’s young carers service team leaders, said: “We hope to improve people’s understanding of young carers and the impact that caring can have upon a child or young person.”
Figures from a recent NHS survey found that 13 per cent of young carers had anxiety or depression – compared to eight per cent of others their age without caring responsibilities. In addition, a Carers Trust survey of 350 young carers showed 48 per cent felt stressed as a result of caring and 44 per cent were tired.
Laura said: “Talking about how you’re feeling and your mental health can help you feel happy and healthy.
“We provide guidance and support to young carers and their families to try to reduce the young person’s caring role. We also provide free activities to give young carers a break from caring and reduce isolation as they meet other young carers.”
Last year Carers in Hertfordshire provided one-to-one support to 245 young carers and their families and, for 47 per cent of the young carers, their involvement helped reduce their caring role.
To support the day, members of the cause’s Young Carers team are visiting various schools around Hertfordshire to give talks about what a young carer is.
Whatever you do to mark Young Carers Awareness Day 2019, Carers in Hertfordshire would love to know. You can share tweets throughout Thursday to @ycherts using the hashtag #YoungCarersAwarenessDay and #Walkamile.
To get in touch with the charity call 01992 586969. You can also find out more at carersinherts.org.uk and www.ycih.org.