National Young Carers Awareness Day, 31st January 2019

The next Young Carers Awareness Day will take place on Thursday, 31 January 2019.  

I will be attending a special conference organised by Essex Youth Service who has partnered with Supporting Carers and Families Together (SCAFT), the theme of the day is young carers and mental health.

Key speakers include the Minister of State for Care, Caroline Dinenage MP, ECC Cabinet Member for Education & Skills, Councillor Ray Gooding, and Service Manager for SCAFT, Andrew Trewern. There will also be presentations from young carers, NHS GP, KOOTH, Essex schools and organisations including the Children’s Society on the Young Carers in Schools Award.

Information and key facts from the Conference:

There are 10,000 young carers in Essex alone, many of whom do not care for themselves, as caring for a loved one is their priority.  The act of caring is driven by love, but as a society there is a risk that the love and caring provided by young carers will, or some might argue is being expolited because of the fact that there is not currently the right support provision available to support young carers and their families.

In 2016, 14,000 young carers required mental health and physical health care provision, as a result of their caring roles.   Young carers are more likely than their peers to experience anxiety, stress and depression, with 5.8% of young carers report experiencing bullying.  Furthermore, 89% of young carers report feeling lonely and isolated.

There was a brief mention of the Governments’ Carers Action Plan 2018 – 2020

The plan sets out the cross-government programme of work to support carers over the next 2 years.

It is structured around the following key areas:

  • services and systems that work for carers
  • employment and financial wellbeing
  • supporting young carers
  • recognising and supporting carers in the wider community and society
  • building research and evidence to improve outcomes for carer

Only time will tell whether this programme will be able to deliver what it has set out to achieve, inorder to make a significant and positive difference to the lives of all carers within our local communities.

What was clear from discussions taking place, is that there needs to be a change in societal attitudes towards those selfless individuals who undertake caring roles.  Carer friendly societies need to evolve, which will help to assist with the identification of young carers, inorder for appropriate support to be offered.

“Young carers have the right to be happy, to not risk their health, education and life aspirations because of their caring responsibilities, we must all work together to ensure that every young carer has the opportunity to meet their full potential in all areas of their lives.”  Rachel


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