Young Carers and their families: Mental Health and Wellbeing
Feedback on our summer 2016 consultation.
With Jane Burt – Carer Engagement Worker
“More awareness raising is needed amongst health and social care professionals as young Carers continue to be ‘invisible’.”
Over the summer we spoke with young carers and their families about how services could better support mental health and wellbeing. The aim of the consultations were to look at the impact of caring for a family member with mental health or substance misuse needs.
What did young carers and their families tell us?
Parents told us that mutual support for the young carer and cared for person worked well, particularly when workers with different areas of expertise work collaboratively.
Parents felt that professionals were then able to see ‘the wider issues’ facing both parents and young carers.
All participants highlighted the importance of emotional support and to ‘feel listened to.’ Some parents felt that meeting other children in similar situations had improved their young carer’s confidence and emotional wellbeing greatly.
Young Carers spoke about the impact caring has on their own social lives and acknowledged that it could be difficult to get out and see their friends as often as they would like.
Young Carers said they often felt ignored by health professionals who were not often willing to talk to them directly about their cared for’s health issues and this can cause anxiety.
What did we do with the feedback we gathered?
We wrote a report and sent it to the main CCG. The main issues we highlighted included the young carers lack of knowledge about mental illness, a lack of understanding/or inclusive approach from professionals and the difficulty young carers have in engaging with services. It is also clear that some Young Carers struggle to get appropriate support with their own mental health issues. In the current climate is increasingly difficult to find support agencies to signpost to, which haven’t got waiting lists, high tariff thresholds or age restrictions.
Some recommendations we made included:
More awareness raising is needed amongst health and social care professionals as Young Carers continue to be ‘invisible’. We would like to see a particular focus on training for GP practice staff.
At present their is not a specialist counselling service for young carers. We feel that this is a gap in provision that warrants further consideration.