Young carers in Scotland recently took part in a survey for the Children and Young People’s Commissioner for Scotland. They were asked about how their caring role made them feel. Caring is different for everyone – for a lot of young carers it means spending time with the person you care for and doing other jobs around the house to help.
The young people who took part said that there is more good than bad stuff about being a young carer – one young person explained that “coping with being a young carer is difficult, yes, but I feel proud that I’m making sure my family are okay”. But on the down side, the more caring responsibilities you have, the more stressful life can feel. Getting enough sleep can be a problem too as you sometimes help out overnight – one young person said “I get really tired a lot and really depressed a lot“. Sadly, over half of the young people who took part in the research said that they sometimes felt they had difficulties that were piling up so high they felt like they could not overcome them.
One good thing that the research found out was that a lot of young carers like school, maybe because it gives you a break from caring. Also, that after young carers’ services, guidance teachers were the most likely to be the people that young carers could get support from. One young person summed up really well the kind of support that helps:
“More awareness from people around me on how I’m coping/what I deal with. People just to listen and try to understand, be more patient with me and more flexible with deadlines/pressures. Someone specific who I can talk to who won’t judge me and who will offer support and advice. More respite activities to get a break and to have fun, relax. Workshops to help me cope better – learn techniques, understand feelings and emotions in caring are normal and not to feel guilty”.
To find out more about the research, check out this infographic.
Need advice or want to meet young people in the same boat as you? Babble is an online space where under 18s who are caring for a family member or friend can chat, share their stories and get info and advice.