Skip to main content

Young Carers Action Day

Gary Seath 1 year ago

Forces Life Media

This week we celebrate Young Carers Action Day

This annual event raises awareness of young carers and the incredible contribution they make to their families and local communities.

This year’s theme is about making time for young carers, so we thought it would be a good idea to make time to help others to better understand the lives led by young carers from armed forces and veteran families.

What are young carers and what do they do?

There are over 800,000 young carers (aged 5-17) in the United Kingdom,

Young carers can support a loved one or member of their local community who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem, or an addiction, cannot cope without their care.

Here are some of the things that young carers will do:

  • Practical tasks, like cooking, housework, and shopping.
  • Physical care, such as helping someone out of bed.
  • Emotional support, including talking to someone who is distressed.
  • Personal care, such as helping someone dress.
  • Managing the family budget and collecting prescriptions.
  • Helping to give medicine.
  • Helping someone communicate.
  • Looking after brothers and sisters.

Young carers from armed forces and veteran families

Young carers from armed forces and veteran families will do many things that their civilian peers do, but there are aspects of their lives that will prove very different.

Some young carers will experience times when a parent is deployed overseas, which can usually last anywhere from 6-8 months. This may mean they take on additional responsibilities to support their parent who remains at home, as well as their siblings.

Sometimes a parent will leave the armed forces because of a life-changing physical or psychological injury. This major change can happen very quickly, which means young carers need to adapt to take on additional responsibility to meet further support needs.

Whilst many young carers will thrive in their role as young carers, others might need a little extra support to overcome unique challenges when it comes to things like education and learning, mental health and wellbeing and much more.

The Carers Trust has said that 27% of young carers (aged 11-15 years old) have said that they have missed school due to their caring role and that 1 in 3 young carers have reported struggling with their mental health and wellbeing.

Young carers have told us similar things, whilst others encounter further challenges adapting to disrupted routines when a parent returns from deployment or experience strong feelings of loss and worry when making changes to become a veteran family.

Some young carers have also told us they can feel isolated and lonely – not simply because of their caring role but because they feel civilian peers simply do not understand the lives they lead and how it can affect lots of different things.

Hear from some of our young carers!

We’ve provided an introduction; now it’s time to hear from Gracie-Jo, Heather and Erin, who describe their day-to-day routines as young carers from armed forces and veteran families.

How do we support young carers from armed forces and veteran families?

We provide financial support and respite holiday breaks, and our youth forums deliver a safe space to get together with peers from similar backgrounds to talk about many different things, build confidence have fun and make friends.

Many young carers develop new skills and share their lived experience to co-develop projects, services, and campaigns to help civilian audiences better understand the lives they lead, including Forces Life, Listen Up!, and Ignite.

Young carers also helped to co-develop our Your Mind Matters Hub which provides lots of information, advice, and resources to help peers to better understand and enhance many aspects of mental health and wellbeing.

Want to know more about our work with young carers?

Contact us