Earlier this year, Healthwatch Wirral met with a group of young carers who are supported by Action with Young Carers Wirral at Barnardo’s. Young Carers have a unique viewpoint and we are very grateful to all who attended for sharing their experiences with us.
Key discussion points from the group
- None of the young carers had heard of Healthwatch Wirral before the meeting but by the end they all said they understood what we do and how we can help
- The pandemic has been difficult for all young people but young carers face additional challenges e.g. online learning at home is especially difficult when caring for a parent or family member
- Some changes during the pandemic have been positive: parents who usually work from an office may be working from home and can take on more caring responsibilities that would usually fall to the young carer
- When we asked young carers where they would go to get support, the most popular answer was ‘friend’, followed by family member, someone at school, and Barnardo’s. Very few said they would speak to a GP or call NHS 111, and none of the young carers would seek online advice
- We discussed mental health, including the benefit of creative and active hobbies such as reading, drawing and football
- When we asked what forms of mental health support they would find most useful, the top 3 answers as ranked by the group were activities to support mental health (e.g. sport or music), peer support groups, and self-help
- The group highlighted the importance of a personalised approach to mental health with different options: one member of the group would feel more comfortable in a group therapy setting, whereas another would prefer individual therapy due to social anxiety
- None of the young carers had come across the phrase ‘person-centred care’ even though they care for people who access services which should be using this concept
All the young carers will receive a #Spare5 Ambassador certificate in recognition of their participation to helping to Make a Difference. We are keen to continue working with young carers to improve youth participation in Healthwatch Wirral and everyone who attended the group said they would be interested in future meetings.
You can read the full report of the meeting here.