Dr David Crichton: Young Carers Awareness Day 2019 – #CareForMeToo
Young Carers Awareness Day is important as it is the national day of recognition for the UK’s 700,000 young people who undertake caring roles and helps tell people about the challenges that some young people face. It aims to promote understanding of how difficult it can be for some young carers to realise their hopes and dreams for the future unless they have the right support in place.
This year’s campaign theme is focussed on the importance of recognising how carer’s mental health is affected by the pressures of their caring role.
Nationally, the mental health support young carers need isn’t always there.
And even when support is available, their situation can be made worse by people or professionals who weren’t aware of the specific difficulties and challenges faced.
In Doncaster, we know there are at least 720 young carers, aged up to 25 years of age. 1 in 20 young carers miss school because of their caring responsibilities. 63% of young carers in Doncaster care for a parent and 21% care for a sibling.
Young carers often help family members to get up, get washed or get dressed, do lots of household chores like shopping, cleaning and cooking. They stay in the house a lot and provide emotional support. In some cases, they can also support a family member who misuses drugs and/or alcohol.
Across the borough, great strides have been taken to join health and care services together to ensure young carers receive the support they need. Doncaster’s Local Transformation Plan for Children and Young People’s mental health and wellbeing highlights some of the work that has been done over the last 12 months, including a number of priorities that will continue to be addressed over the coming year.
Young carers don’t need to feel alone; the Young Carers team, led by Doncaster Council can provide one to one support, information and advice and help them to take part in a number of activities and be part of social groups with others who are caring for family relatives.
Last month, Doncaster and Rotherham CCGs found out they had been successful in their application to become a trailblazer site to provide expert mental health support for thousands of pupils a year – part of the Government’s ambitious plans to transform children and young people’s mental health through the NHS Long-Term Plan.
New Mental Health Support Teams will nationally support a population of more than 470,000 children and young people, who will be based in and near schools and colleges, with support starting this year. This new service will mean that key support will be available for many of the boroughs young carers, addressing the impact that caring for other people can have on their mental health.
Dr David Crichton, Chair, NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We know that caring can be rewarding, fulfilling and can contribute to the young person’s development. We are also aware that young carers often have to put their own wellbeing to the back of the queue, which can lead to an increased risk of illness and poor health. Some young carers can become socially isolated as a result of their caring role and it’s important that we tackle this.
“On behalf of the NHS in Doncaster, I am pleased that we are making positive progress, in partnership with Doncaster Council and other voluntary and community organisation to ensure that young carers have the support they need; to help them care for a family relative and at the same time, continue to focus on their education and be part of social groups that we know young people want.”
Doncaster Council has a dedicated page on their website which includes important information about the help and support available to young carers.
Collectively, we can respond to the call of young carers; #CareForMeToo.
Download the Young carers awareness day 2019 poster.