Young Carers Awareness Day (YCAD) is a national day of recognition for the UK’s young carers and will take place on Thursday, 31 January 2019.
This will be the fifth official YCAD with the aim to continue identifying young carers and raising awareness of the vital role that they play in supporting their sick and disabled family members.
This year the focus is on mental health issues and improving support for young carers with one in five secondary school pupils are carers for sick or disabled relatives.
Who is a young carer?
Many people find it hard to believe that children as young at five years old can be caring for a family member, who has a disability, long-term illness, mental illness (including depression, anxieties) or drug, alcohol or substance misuse problem. A BBC survey conducted in 2018 estimated that the real number of young carers could be as high as 800,000 in England, with 5,000 living in Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Norfolk.
Why is it so important young carers receive support?
- They are at higher risk of depression, anxiety, stress and poor mental health
- 39% said that nobody in their school was aware of their caring role
- 26% have been bullied at school because of their caring role
- 1 in 20 miss school because of their caring role
- They are more likely to be not in education, employment, or training in later life.
Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk support young carers and young adult carers in our region by providing regular groups in the community and in schools. We help schools to identify and support young carers and recognise good practice within schools through our Young Carer Friendly Tick Award for Education in Norfolk and the National Young Carers in Schools Award. In 2018, we organised over 25 days trips and four residentials so that young carers were able to take a break either with family or friends. We also provide opportunities to share any concerns about their caring role on a one-to-one or family basis offering information, advice and guidance.
We take the health and well-being of young carers seriously and this YCAD we’re running a number of stress and anxiety workshops for young carers in local schools and colleges in partnership with YMCA, to help promote mental health awareness. We’re also taking this opportunity to hear directly from young carers and young adult carers by asking them to complete a ‘Helping to get your Voices Heard’ survey. This will help us to shape policy and our plans for the future to ensure that we continue to offer the best support that young carers and young adult carers need to help develop and maintain good mental health. You will be able join the conversation as the results are revealed by following @CarersTrustCPN on Twitter or view the full results on 1st February through our website. This is what young carers and young adult carers told us in 2018.