Advertisement
Social Justice

‘It’s too much pressure’: Covid leaves young carers burnt out, lonely and lacking support

Carer’s Trust is calling for more support for young carers, after its survey revealed many feel lonely, burnt out and worried.

Young carers have experienced a dramatic rise in the number of hours spent caring due to the pandemic, with a lack of support contributing to burnout, loneliness and exhaustion.

To mark Young Carers Action Day this week, the Carer’s Trust revealed more than half of young carers and young adult carers it surveyed said the amount of time they spend caring per week has increased in the past year – with one in five reporting an increase of between 20 and 49 hours per week.

Even before coronavirus, pressures on the health and social care services meant increasing levels of caring responsibilities were falling disproportionately on young carers’ shoulders.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work. With each subscription we invest every penny back into supporting the network of sellers across the UK. A subscription also means you'll never miss the weekly editions of an award-winning publication, with each issue featuring the leading voices on life, culture, politics and social activism.

Repeated lockdowns saw many essential services closed down, leaving young carers and young adult carers to take on even more caring responsibilities.

Whilst the pandemic appears to be easing, Covid continues to negatively influence the lives of young carers, and young adult carers.

Laura Bennett, head of policy at Carer’s Trust, told The Big Issue: “We have great legislation in this country to protect young carers’ rights, and they should be able to benefit from assessments of their needs and support packages. But we don’t know enough about how many young carers are actually getting these.”

Advertisement
Advertisement
Stop Mass Homelessness

Help us stop mass homelessness

Unless we act, the UK is facing a homelessness crisis 
this autumn.

Carer’s Trust is calling for more support for young carers, after its survey revealed many feel lonely, burnt out and worried.

For example, 59 per cent said they felt more stressed, 47 per cent said their felt less connected to others and 46 per cent said their education was suffering since the pandemic.

One young carer said: “It’s harder than anyone understands and I feel like I’m drowning”.

Another said: “It’s too much pressure and responsibility for something I didn’t choose.”

And a third young carer revealed: “It affected my friendships as they didn’t understand why they couldn’t come inside the house. We have a no phones rule which makes it difficult to keep in contact if needed.”

Bennett added: “While no child or young person should feel lonely, burned-out, stressed, worried or exhausted, for young carers and young adult carers it’s more complex. They are a group of children and young people who are having to put others first, often at the expense of their own education, work, mental health and wellbeing.”

Carer’s Trust is calling on the UK government, the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and other stakeholders, to take action to address isolation among young carers and young adult carers.

They recommend more commissioned breaks and respite for young carers and young adult carers, from local carer organisations.

“Breaks mean that young carers can spend time doing things that are fun for them,” Bennett said.

“Funding transport and leisure opportunities would mean that young carers can go for a swim, get to college or go and meet their friends – all the things that other young people can often more easily do, without the barriers young carers can face.”

Additionally, education providers – either schools, colleges or universities – should take a more integrated and collaborative approach to support, by working in partnership with the NHS, local authorities and local carer organisations.

Responding to the survey findings, Carers Trust’s CEO, Kirsty McHugh, said: “These stark findings underline the plight of young carers. Too many are left unsupported, struggling to access the services they need with knock on effects to their education, mental health and well-being.

“We need more investment in social care generally and local care organisations specifically to relieve young carers of the overwhelming pressure so many are under. In addition, the NHS must ensure its mental health services prioritise young carer support.”

Advertisement

Support your local vendor

Want to buy a copy of the magazine? We have over 1,200 Big Issue vendors in the UK. Each vendor buys a copy of the mag for £1.50 and sells it for £3, keeping the difference. Visit our interactive map to find your nearest vendor and support them today!

Recommended for you

Read All
Most Brits think today’s children will find life harder than their parents
Social mobility

Most Brits think today’s children will find life harder than their parents

Roe v Wade overturned: What abortion access and reproductive rights look like around the world
Abortion rights

Roe v Wade overturned: What abortion access and reproductive rights look like around the world

At least £32bn of tax went unpaid last year amid cost of living crisis
Cost of living

At least £32bn of tax went unpaid last year amid cost of living crisis

Campaigners call for a million people to cancel their energy bills if government refuses to act
Cost of living

Campaigners call for a million people to cancel their energy bills if government refuses to act

Most Popular

Read All
Exclusive: BT call centre sets up 'food bank' for its own staff
1.

Exclusive: BT call centre sets up 'food bank' for its own staff

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'
2.

Prince William: 'Why I wanted to work with The Big Issue'

Rainn Wilson emailed Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to say Harry Mudd would 'fit right in'
3.

Rainn Wilson emailed Star Trek: Strange New Worlds to say Harry Mudd would 'fit right in'

The UK approach to replacing the Human Rights Act is just as worrying as the replacement itself
4.

The UK approach to replacing the Human Rights Act is just as worrying as the replacement itself

Keep up to date with The Big Issue. The leading voice on life, politics, culture and social activism direct to your inbox.