There are an estimated 700,000 Young Carers in the UK. These children are providing ongoing care and support to a family member who has a long term health condition, disability, learning difficulty, mental health condition or issues with drugs or alcohol.
Young Carers today are facing the struggle of juggling their caring roles with school and friendships, often having little time to themselves and taking on a heavy weight of responsibility.
As it stands, young carers are often not known to their GP or School. Generally they don’t even recognise themselves as a young carer or they choose not to tell anyone about their responsibilities at home.
The demanding caring responsibility can often affect their mental health, and Barnardo’s reported that at least 50% of young carers felt they needed counselling to help them with the stress of their roles.
Statistics in the 2016 Children’s Commissioner report revealed that 100% of young carers questioned said they suffered from anxiety, depression, isolation and feelings of anger.
Derbyshire Carers Association already run a successful young carers service, which helps to provide personalised support to young carers and their families once they are identified and referred to the association.
DCA are actively working with schools across Derbyshire to help them to identify and support Young Carers in the region. This new project also gives them opportunity to support GP surgeries in working closely with young carers and the Young Carers Service.
This project aims to identify more young carers in primary health settings, training staff to be aware of young carers and importantly signposting young carers to local support that they may not know about.
Helen Yates, Project Lead at Derbyshire Carers Association, Said: “Young Carers take on a great deal of responsibility. They are an incredible group of young people, selflessly caring for a loved one. We’re excited to have the opportunity to work closely with GP surgeries to support young carers. We know that GPs will join us with the project, and help us to spread the word about these amazing young people and the vital role they take on in our communities.”