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The results of a Carers Trust survey into the impact of Coronavirus on young carers aged 12 to 17 and young adult carers aged 18 to 25 was published in July 2020. It points to a steep decline in the mental health and wellbeing of the hundreds of thousands of young people across the UK who provide unpaid care at home for family members or friends.

 

Coronavirus increases caring hours and pressures on young carers

With 961 responses from across the UK, Carers Trust's survey provides a base of evidence. It shows how worries relating to Coronavirus and increased isolation caused by the lockdown have affected the mental health and wellbeing of the UK’s young people with caring responsibilities.

Even before the outbreak of Coronavirus, young carers and young adult carers were all too often spending significant amounts of time caring for a relative in addition to the time they needed to spend on education, work and time for themselves. Coronavirus has significantly increased those pressures.

  • 40% of young carers and 59% of young adult carers say their mental health is worse since Coronavirus.
  • 67% of young carers and 78% of young adult carers are more worried about the future since Coronavirus.
  • 66% of young carers and 74% of young adult carers are feeling more stressed since Coronavirus.
  • 69% of both young carers and young adult carers are feeling less connected to others since Coronavirus.
  • 11% of young carers and 19.7% of young adult carers report an increase of 30 hours or more in the amount of time they spend caring per week.
  • 58% of young carers who are caring for longer since Coronavirus are spending on average ten hours a week more on their caring responsibilities. Among young adult carers the proportion is even higher at 63.6%.

Most shockingly of all, 7.74% of young carers and 14.94% of young adult carers who responded to the survey, said that they are now spending over 90 hours a week caring for a family member or friend.

When asked what difference Coronavirus had made to them, 56% of young carers said their education was suffering and 40% said their mental health had worsened. Asked the same question, 59% of young adult carers said their mental health had become worse and 42% said they had been unable to take a break from caring.

“I am unable to do my school work properly. I am finding it hard to concentrate because I am worried about the person I care for. And my mental health is going downhill which is making this situation a lot harder” 15 year-old young carer from England who responded to the survey

Other key findings from the survey:

  • 56% of young carers say their education is suffering since Coronavirus.
  • 52% of young adult carers feel overwhelmed by the pressures they are facing now.
  • 49% of young adult carers are struggling to look after themselves.
  • 50% of young adult carers are having to spend more money due to Coronavirus.
  • 66% of young carers and 71% of young adult carers are less able to stay in touch with friends since Coronavirus.

Based on the survey findings, Carers Trust is calling for:

  • Greater prioritisation of mental health support for young carers. It is vital that mental health services and schools supporting a child or young person with their mental health ask about caring responsibilities and support that child or young person to get support with caring.
  • Greater support from education providers and employers to help young carers and young adult carers to juggle their caring roles alongside school, college, university or work. Like other children and young people, they have goals and aspirations. Without the right support, young carers and young adult carers are at risk of lower exam results, and spending less time in education.       

Further information

Are you a young carer living in Gateshead? You can click here to request a Young Carer Assessment and support from our Young Carer Service

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