Barnardos Press Release

Mental health problems of bullied young carers
Young carers need more support to reduce the risk of being bullied and suffering mental health and well-being problems as a result, according to Barnardo’s, the UK’s largest children’s charity.
Research shows that young people who have caring responsibilities for relatives or siblings are more likely to be bullied than their peers because of their family situation.[1]
It is estimated there are 700,000 young carers in the UK, many of whom are vulnerable due to the stresses and strains caring for family members brings. Many young carers spend 20 hours or more each week caring for their relative. They cook, clean, wash, shop, administer medication and often help to look after their siblings too.
And those young carers whose parents have mental health problems are three times more likely than other children to experience mental health problems themselves.[2]
These include anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and behavioural problems[3].
This week is Anti-Bullying Week which aims to raise awareness of how the effects of bullying can have a massive impact on all individuals, whether that is at school, work, college or socially.
Barnardo’s, which runs 21 specialist young carers services across the UK, says too many young carers do not get the support they need and their mental health suffers as a result.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said: “Young carers can be left feeling isolated and alone because of their situation and unable to turn to anyone for help. “Being bullied adds to this feeling of isolation and has a significantly detrimental effect on their mental health and wellbeing.
“To counter this schools need to be more aware when a child is a young carer and how to spot the signs they are being bullied.
“There also needs to be more protective factors put into place like a teacher who understand their situation, access to school counsellors and quick referrals to young carer services.”
Barnardo’s supports young carers and their families by:
- Helping the family to find the support they need, and are entitled to, from local services, so that a child’s caring responsibilities can be reduced.
- Supporting young carers to use local services such as sports clubs, support groups, and health centres.
- Providing advice and emotional support through counselling and drop-in sessions.
- Liaising with schools/educational settings so that teachers can better support their students.
- Providing opportunities for young carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities, spend time with other young carers and young adult carers and share experiences.
- Providing opportunities for young carers to learn more about their parent’s illness or disability. Some children are as young as five when they start caring for a family member.
About Barnardo's:
Last year 272,000 children, young people and parents were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 1,000 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes.
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Call the 24 hour press office number on 020 8498 7555. Registered charity No. 216250 and SC037605. Follow Barnardo’s media team on Twitter @BarnardosNews
November 2017