Caring for a parent or loved one can be tough, especially when you’re a child or a young person. Too often these amazing Young Carers go unseen in our communities with little awareness of the challenges they face or the support they need. Read Sam’s story as she shares her experience caring for her mum from the age of 12.
I started at the age of 12. I didn’t even know that I had become a carer till I was about 18 when I had to make calls and explain to people I am caring for my mum. That’s 6 years of being a young carer and not even acknowledging it but believing that I am just a good daughter being responsible. I was even told that it is my duty by other family members and so assumed this is normal family life for many people.
I was constantly avoiding school to go to doctors’ appointments, low in self-esteem and lacked confidence. School believed I was just truanting because I was getting bullied. When they did finally give me a mentor she worked more on developing my self-esteem but not on how to improve the situation at home or help me to find a solution to balance both.
“Recognising and acknowledging young carers is extremely important”
It wasn’t just the school that I felt let down by but my health service too. I was constantly having panic attacks and feeling unwell however they never really picked up why… .they just treated the problem. Recognising and acknowledging young carers is extremely important. My lack of confidence or self-esteem was because I felt no one would understand me and if I did tell anyone they still wouldn’t care as their main priority was to get my homework in on time. If there was a strategy to find a solution, add extra support and also to allow me to feel special or rewarded for being a carer then I may have got better results during my GCSEs. The day I got my results was very hard for me. I remember blaming my family for me failing but if the help or the mentor support was slightly different then I may have got better results.
Services need to link together and work around individuals as a whole. As being a carer affects someone mentally and physically especially when they are still trying to develop and find out who they are as a teen into adulthood.
Join our #ClapForYoungCarers Thursday 11th June at 8pm. A chance to say thank you to these amazing young people during Carers Week 2020. Find out more about our Young Carers Services and how we support young people with caring responsibilities.