Are you a young carer? Not sure?
A young carer is a child who looks after or helps to look after someone who has an illness, learning or physical disability, a mental health illness or misuse of drugs or alcohol. It might be your mum or dad, grandparent, brother or sister or a close relative or friend.
A young carer usually takes on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. This means doing things like cooking, cleaning, shopping, giving medication or just talking and helping when the person you care about is feeling sad.
Caring roles can look very different, you might be doing different things than mentioned above, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t a young carer.
How you can get help and support
Looking after someone can sometimes take up a lot of time and it can sometimes be very difficult to cope with everything. Going to school, meeting up with friends and doing the things you enjoy can sometimes be hard to fit in.
If you think you might be a young carer, or you’re not too sure, and feel you need additional help and support, talk to someone you trust like your teacher at school or your doctor. They will be able to refer you to Wiltshire Council’s Young Carer team for a young carers’ assessment which will look at the support that could be offered to you and your family.
You can send us a message through the website here.
What is a young carer assessment? What support is available?
Wiltshire Council have a responsibility to make steps to identify and carry out Young Carer Assessments for carers under 18. If you have not had an assessment you can ask for one.
An assessment is when an adult from the young carers team at Wiltshire council, gets to know you to understand the things you are dealing with and the impact of your caring role to see if you need some help.
If your assessment highlights you would benefit from additional help a referral will be made to us at Carer Support Wiltshire and we will put you in touch with Youth Action Wiltshire, who provide breaks and support for young carers in Wiltshire.
At 16 you are also entitled to a transition assessment which will be carried out by us at Carer Support Wiltshire. If you are currently aged 16-18, you can register with us directly online here or by calling us on 0800 181 4118.
Transition simply means changing from one process or period to another. For you as a young carer aged 16 – 18, we are focusing on the transition from childhood into adulthood.
A transitions assessment is very similar to a young carer assessment – it’s about having a conversation to understand where you are, where you want to get to, how your caring role impacts your day to day life and what help and support you may need to achieve your goals or overcome difficulties. We look at areas such as education, employment and training, health and wellbeing, relationships, hobbies and interests and any other area you may wish to seek help for.
If I could give advice to my 13-year-old self, or anyone else who is a young carer or a young adult carer and going through it now,
just keep in mind that it will get better.
Tessa, young adult carer.
Support for young carers aged 16-18
Your transition assessment will give a good understanding of your support needs. Where appropriate, you could then access:
- 1:1 support
- A chance to meet other young carers and share experiences
- Help with completing applications and grants
- Volunteering and/or mentoring opportunities
- Pampering sessions
- Monthly Cafes
- Advice, information and signposting to other services
- Online community and resource centre for young adult carers YACbook.co.uk
- Regular newsletters with useful information, articles and blogs
- Various themed events and workshops, including CV writing, Interview skills, understanding mental health, cooking and much more!
To find out more about a transitions assessment and support available for 16-18 year old young carers, see our leaflet here.
What other help is out there for me?
Maybe you’re used to looking after someone, and are dealing with all new kinds of worry about their health and yours. Or maybe looking after someone is new to you. No matter your situation, there are some great websites, apps and helplines to help you.
A children and young people’s mental health helpline called On Your Mind has launched in Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire. The helpline is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, offering advice, guidance and support to children, young people and carers.
9am – 5pm weekdays – 01865 903777
5pm-9am on weekdays or weekends – 01865 901000
On your Mind also has an Emotional wellbeing and mental health directory – a comprehensive list of all services available to young people.
YACbook is our online community and resource centre for young adult carers (16+.) Have a look for blogs, mental health advice, education advice, employment advice and more.