Monday 3rd – Sunday 9th February is all about children’s mental health! It’s a chance for us to raise awareness of the mental health issues that young people, and in particular young carers, can face.
Why is mental health a key issue for young carers?
More than a third of young carers in the UK have experienced problems with their mental wellbeing, according to a recent YouGov study.
At Honeypot, we’re all too aware of the impact that caring can have on young people. When children are carrying out excessive caring responsibilities due to a lack of support, juggling this with school can have a big impact. It can affect a child or young person’s stress or anxiety levels, isolation, self-confidence or social skills. Young carers can also be at further risk of bullying, which can also damage your mental health.
It can also be difficult for young carers to access support for poor mental health, given that a great deal of their personal time is already used up caring for their family. A parent with poor mobility issues, for example, might not find it easy to accompany them, or alternatively, a parent the child doesn’t want to leave at home alone any longer than necessary. Maybe the child has to arrange an appointment for themselves without help. Maybe they’re not comfortable coming forward about the toll their caring is taking on them, because they fear being separated from their parent.
What can we do about it?
It’s vital that young carers have access to the services they require, and can be identified at their schools, which should be equipped to recognise children’s needs and refer them as appropriately.
At Honeypot we want to make a call to support schools, social workers, and charities like ourselves in our identification of young carers, and raise awareness to help families come forwards themselves.
It’s important for young people to remember to look after themselves, even if they’re caring for someone else. While young carers can feel pride or happiness supporting someone they love, you should remember you do also have the right to take time for yourself – it’s nothing to feel bad about.
On our SEAL breaks, we teach resilience and coping techniques to deal with difficult situations. Click here to find out what a typical SEAL break is like.
Honeypot is the national charity for young carers aged five to twelve. We do not receive government funding and rely on your donations to keep running respite breaks. Please consider supporting us by making a donation, attending an event, or making us your organisation’s charity partner.