The CCG is marking national Carers Week (9-14 June) by encouraging young carers not to care in silence and isolation but to seek support if they care for a relative and haven’t told anyone officially.
A young carer is someone aged 18 or under who helps look after a relative who has a condition such as a disability, illness, mental health condition, or a drug or alcohol problem.
The 2011 Census estimated there were 178,000 young carers in the UK, and it is thought that there are around a million children and young adults up to the age of 24 caring for parents or family members.
GPs are encouraging parents and teachers not to let carers go unnoticed but to help them get the care and support they need to keep on top of their health.
Professor Mayur Lakhani, a GP and chair of the CCG, said: “Caring for a relative without recognition can be emotionally and physically challenging. It’s vital that GPs are aware young people are caring for someone so they can put in place the necessary support to help them. Schools can also play their part by identifying the students who need help and putting the right support in place at an early stage.”
According to the Carers Trust, more than a quarter of young carers miss school or experience educational difficulties often leading to poor academic achievement and limited career opportunities. What’s more, a study carried out by the University of Nottingham in 2013 found that young carers are also more likely to neglect their own health.
The CCG has created an online self-help group directory with details of a range of local support services, including groups for carers, which can be accessed here. For additional information on support for carers visit www.supportforcarers.org or www.youngcarers.net