A focus on the serious impact that caring can have on children and young people in demanding roles, is part of a campaign by Sheffield Young Carers.
As part of their #CareForMeToo campaign, this year is about mental health, and, with an estimated 7,300 young carers in Sheffield alone, the charity urges the city to recognise the serious impact caring can have on a child or young person’s mental health.
Caring for someone who is ill or disabled can be extremely challenging. So Sheffield Young Carers are working tirelessly to identify every young carer in the city, to raise awareness of the many issues facing them, including the impact on their own mental and physical health.
Last year 58 per cent of young carers supported by the charity were caring for a family member with mental ill health.
But national statistics show that mental health problems are also prevalent among young carers themselves.
According to a Carers Trust survey, 48 per cent said that being a young carer made them feel stressed.
Another revealed that 38 per cent of school-age young carers had mental health issues and, according to another Carers Trust statistic, this percentage rises with age: 45 per cent of young adult carers aged between 16 and 25 report mental health problems.
Sheffield Young Carers’ offerspractical and emotional support to young carers like Jenny, who is 12 years old and performs numerous tasks at home, helping her dad in caring for her mum.
Jenny said: “Compared to those who don’t have caring roles, I hardly get a break from my caring and hardly get out at weekends. I don’t have a high social status with friends and have been so mentally stressed that I’ve become physically ill.
“With support from Sheffield Young Carers I’m much more confident now and have made new friends for life.”
Other young carers have said that with support from Sheffield Young Carers, they have gained both socially and in handling anxiety.
Anyone wanting to help can make a donation to support Sheffield Young Carers, by visiting www.sheffieldyoungcarers.org.uk or texting SYCP20 followed by £3, £5 or £10 to 70070 today.
Education or healthcare professionals can visit www.sheffieldyoungcarers.org.uk to find out how help Sheffield Young Carers identify and support young carers.
People can also sign Louise Haigh MP’s petition for free transport for young carers today: www.sheffieldyoungcarers.org.uk/news/sign-our-petition.
To find out more about Sheffield Young Carers, visit the website atwww.sheffieldyoungcarers.org.uk