Today on Young Carers Action Day – How can you support young carers?
Today (March 16th) is Young Carer’s Action day. It’s a day for raising awareness of young carers and young adult carers, the pressures and challenges they face, and the incredible contribution they make by caring for their family members and friends.
We know that young carers can sometimes feel like they are not heard. The NHS long term plan set out our ambition to work with young carers to develop ‘top tips’ for GPs, which highlight the best practice when it comes to identifying and helping young carers.
The five top tips are:
- Recognise that young carers have individual needs and shouldn’t all be treated the same.
- Think about the support and understanding a young carer may need.
- Listen and hear what young carers are saying.
- Avoid relying on young carers interpreting for the person they care for.
- Think about how you can make appointments more accessible; after school, double appointments etc.
One of our Health Champions, who we have worked with to develop the top tips, is Laura. Here, she tells us a bit more about her feelings of being a young carer through poetry, and how she has been involved in our Health Champions programme.
Laura – NHS England Health Champion
Hi, I’m Laura, and I’m 17. I’ve been caring for my mum for the most part of my life. I am an NHS England Health Champion and through the programme I have become aware of the helpful ‘top tips’ for GPs to help identify young carers. I wrote this poem because I find the best way to get out how you feel is to just pick up a pen and write, something about poems for me have always helped me express my thoughts and emotions. Growing up I always found that identifying and then helping young carers is an area that the trusted adults in a young person’s life struggle with, be it through lack of knowledge or training, or basing what they do know on stereotypes, and the impact of that is something that appeared to be swept under the rug- that’s something I hope to change.
Do you care that I care?
I find it hard to understand how you know no two are the same,
Yet when it comes to advice you repeat yourself again and again.
You assume we all need help in one particular way,
But don’t actually ask if your support is ok.
Your responses sound planned , like you’re rehearsing your lines,
And what I actually need from you is pushed to the side.
The help that we need doesn’t fit into some universal cast,
But you’d only know that if simply, you asked.
We’re all unique and our needs are too,
You can’t put us in one box, and it’s rude to assume.
Assume that we all want and need the same thing,
Because responses to needing help are starting to get boring
Do you care that I care? Then maybe you should ask me.
Ask me what I need and how you can support me.
It’s better than just assuming, trust me, I’d know.
So if you care that i care, then please-
Let me know.
Laura is part of the NHS England and NHS Improvement Health Champions who are a group of young people and young adult carers aged 16-24 who are empowered to have a voice and share their thoughts on how healthcare can support all young and young adult carers in continuing their role whilst achieving their personal goals.
Up to an estimated 20,000 young carers will benefit from the GP top tips that the Health Champions have helped to produce, which include access to preventative health and social prescribing, by 2023/23.
We are working with colleagues in NHS England and NHS Improvement, GPs and Primary Care Networks to look at how best to embed all 5 top tips in general practice and really make a difference to the experience of young carers. We are asking GP’s to implement and share this work with colleagues.