Third of young carers stressed because of responsibilities

New research reveals that over one third of young people who give up time to care for someone they live with are experiencing widespread problems with their mental well-being.

The YouGov survey, commissioned by the Carers Trust to mark Young Carers Awareness Day, found that 37 per cent of responding young carers said they felt ‘stressed’ while 32 per cent said they felt ‘worried’ because of caring for someone. Moreover, 50 per cent of those who reported stress said they ‘often’ felt that way.

The study also found that 23 per cent of young carers felt their caring role had, on at least one occasion, stopped them making friends, while 44 per cent felt they got enough help with their emotions and feelings. The charity warns that too many young carers are not getting the right support to address their negative feelings.

Giles Meyer, Carers Trust CEO, said: “It’s hardly surprising 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.”

Anntoinette Bramble, chair of the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board, said: "Young carers often face significant challenges, and councils across the country work hard to make sure they are able to access the support they need while continuing to enjoy their childhoods and fulfil their full potential. However with children’s services facing a £3.1 billion funding gap by 2025, this is getting increasingly difficult, and government needs to address this in the forthcoming Spending Review.

"Every young carer has a right to an assessment to find out if they need additional support, and councils will do all they can to provide this support where needs are identified. However, councils need the support of all members of the community to help identify young carers to make sure that their needs can be assessed quickly, and the necessary support provided. Good relationships between councils, schools, the NHS and other organisations are crucial to making sure that children are referred as quickly as possible and get the support they need to help them their lives to the fullest.”