Who are our Young Carers?
Young Carers are young people of up to 25 years in age, who care for someone within their household who suffers from an ongoing physical or mental illness, is disabled or misuses substances. More often than not, Young Carers do not identify with being a Young Carer; many undertake the responsibility of collecting medicine, caring for younger siblings and carrying out daily chores as a normal part of their day.
For these reasons, Young Carers can go through school life without anyone knowing of their responsibilities at home. Our hope is that parents, carers, or students will inform either their Form Tutors, Mrs Geoghegan (Young Carer Coordinator) or a trusted adult in school, as we have a great programme of support alongside Harrow Carers for our Young Carers in school.
What is important to know?
Many Young Carers cope very well with these responsibilities, and carry them out with love and care for that individual. However, on occasion, perhaps at times of stress, for example; during end of year exams or when they themselves are feeling under the weather, it can feel a little too much to deal with by oneself. They may feel or experience:
- Stressed by too much responsibility
- Physically tired
- Worried about the relative’s health
- Embarrassed about their situation
- Struggle with coping with another person’s mood
- No time for themselves or for completing homework
- Missing school
- Low self-esteem, anxiety, anger or guilt
Young Carers will not stop caring, but it is important to balance their responsibilities by offering an opportunity to just be young and have space to flourish. Many Carers put others needs before their own, but it is important to actively seek self-care. If we do not look after ourselves, how can we look after anyone else?
A message to Young Carers
Being a Young Carer can sometimes make you feel a little different from your peers. Your friends may not have the same responsibilities as you, and they may find it difficult to understand why you don’t have as much free time as them. This can put a strain on friendships.
You are not alone if any of these things happen to you. At Rooks Heath, we hope that you can come and talk to our Young Carer Coordinator (Mrs Geoghegan) so that we can work together to hear about your experience and how we can help. Young Carers miss an average of 48 days of school because of their role; our aim is to help you to maintain your education whilst also meeting your other demands. Please remember that you are not alone, and that by letting school know your role, you can meet others in school that will have similar experiences to you. Young Carers are a great bunch of resilient, empathic and resourceful students.
Mrs Geoghegan – Young Carers Coordinator/Counsellor – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Carers UK
- Youth Access
- Jo Whiley: Letting people in can be hard in Jo Whiley talks about being a young carer (soundcloud.com)
The Weight of a Thousand Feathers is an award winning novel about a young man and his caring responsibilities.