A new survey has revealed the impact of coronavirus on those caring for others.
A new survey has revealed a steep decline in the mental health and wellbeing of the UK’s young carers.
The poll, conducted for the Carers Trust, found that 58% of young carers aged 12-17 were spending an average of 10 hours a week extra on their duties since the start of lockdown. Among young adult carers aged 18-25 this rises to 64%.
A significant proportion of those surveyed were spending over 90 hours a week caring for family member or friend, with 8% of young carers and 15% of young adult carers falling into this category.
More than half (56%) of young carers said their education was suffering and 40% said their mental health had worsened during the lockdown. Among young adult carers, 59% reported worsening mental health and 42% said they had been unable to take a break from caring.
Half of all young adult carers said they had been forced to spend more money during the current crisis, while similar numbers said they were struggling to look after themselves because of the extra responsibilities of caring.
Responding to the findings, Carers Trust CEO Gareth Howells said: “This is the first snapshot of how coronavirus is affecting hundreds of thousands of young people with caring responsibilities across the UK. And the results are truly shocking. They cannot, and must not, be ignored.
“Even before the pandemic struck, the failure of successive UK governments to properly fund social care meant that an intolerable strain was being placed on young people who had to step in to provide the care that a cash-starved social care system increasingly could not.
That over-dependence on young carers and young adult carers has created a ticking timebomb with their mental health and wellbeing being placed at serious risk.
“Coronavirus, and our findings of its impact, have brought into sharper focus still the unacceptable pressures young carers are under and the effect this is having on their wellbeing and life chances. There are estimated to be around 1 million young carers alone across the UK and today’s findings are the wake-up call that can no longer be ignored.”