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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Aberdeen chapter.

Young Carers Day is an annual event organised by Carers Trust. It raises awareness for young and young adult carers, the pressures and challenges they face, and their supporting contribution through caring for others. As well as this, it calls for action regarding the support of these carers so they too can live full and healthy lives. This year, the theme for Young CarersDay is ‘Taking Action on Isolation,’ emphasising that having the right support put in place, such as regular short breaks from caring, can be beneficial in increasing the opportunities for young carers to succeed in all parts of their lives.

A young carer has additional responsibilities compared to the average young individual. They may take on more practical tasks, such as cooking and cleaning; physical care, such as helping someone get out of bed; emotional support; personal care, such as helping someone get dressed; managing family budgets; collecting prescriptions; aiding with medication; and looking after other family members, such as brothers and sisters. In a 2011 Census, 177,918 young carers were identified in England and Wales, where one in eight were under the age of 8. In Scotland, at least 29,000 young carers were recognised.

Being a young carer can have major impacts on individual growth, where young carers are more likely to have a significantly lower educational attainment than their peers at school. This is because they might find it more difficult to maintain coursework with the added responsibilities they have at home. Due to this, they may also have less time to socialise with people their own age, which would ultimately increase the likelihood of bullying. It can therefore be quite isolating for young carers rarely leaving the house, finding difficulty in developing and/or sustaining friendships, or even maintaining interests and activities they previously enjoyed.

Caring, therefore, has major health implications, as caring can make individuals physically(and mentally) exhausted, where they might be getting up several times in the night on top of caring throughout the day. They may even have to look after other members of the family too, whilst possibly working more to get extra finances as caring can lead to poverty, especially if the adults are unable to work and the family ends up on benefits. Caring can be emotionally damaging, leading to young carers being emotionally exhausted to witnessing a family member experience pain, distress, and discomfort, which could ultimately lead to stress, depression, and other mental health issues.

It is important then to understand the significance of this year’s theme-‘Taking Action consolation. These young carers are making a fantastic difference to the lives of their loved ones, whilst sacrificing part of their childhood to do so. It is important to acknowledge the significant impact they have had, where they should be appreciated and also able to live a full life.

Business Management and Psychology graduate from the University of Aberdeen '22