Even before the outbreak of coronavirus, young carers and young adult carers were all too often spending significant amounts of time caring for a relative in addition to the time they needed to spend on education, work and time for themselves. Coronavirus has significantly increased those pressures.
Carers Trust has received 961 responses to their online survey from young people aged 12-25 about their experiences of providing care during the coronavirus outbreak. It shows how worries relating to the pandemic and increased isolation caused by the lockdown have affected their mental health and wellbeing.
The survey found that 58% of young carers aged 12-17 were spending an average of 10 hours a week extra on their duties since the start of lockdown. Among young adult carers aged 18-25 this rises to 64%.
A significant proportion of those surveyed were spending over 90 hours a week caring for a family member or friend, with 7.74% of young carers and 14.94% of young adult carers falling into this category.
More than half (56%) of young carers said their education was suffering and 40% said their mental health had worsened during the lockdown. Among young adult carers, 59% reported worsening mental health and 42% said they had been unable to take a break from caring.
These statistics are alarming and although restrictions across the country are easing that does not necessarily equate to a sudden improvement in carers mental health. We expect to see long lasting effects of the pandemic on people's wellbeing and of course coronavirus is still prevalent at this time.
Carers Trust are campaigning and advocating for:
- Greater prioritisation of mental health support for young carers. It is vital that mental health services and schools supporting a child or young person with their mental health ask about caring responsibilities and support that child or young person to get support with caring.
- Greater support from education providers and employers to help young carers and young adult carers to juggle their caring roles alongside school, college, university or work. Like other children and young people, they have goals and aspirations. Without the right support, young carers and young adult carers are at risk of lower exam results, and spending less time in education.
If you are a young carer and are struggling you can speak to The Junction who are a local organisation who provide a specific service to listen and support you. You can contact them by phone: 01642 756000, through their Facebook page or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Take a look at our young carers page for further information.
Download the report about the UK survey results: My Future, My Feelings, My Family.