The Public Health England week of action #health5to19 is a great opportunity for us to share our young carers work from Blackpool. In case you don’t know a Young Carer is a child that cares for someone in their family and close family circle (friend, neighbour) who has a physical or mental health issue; which means that they have to support them both with emotional and practical support. So being a Young Carer, health and mental well-being is one of the most important aspects of maintaining your caring role and dealing with the ups and downs that this may entail. A young carer’s role can be both physically and mentally demanding for long periods of time or incidents that may occur in the short-term. In Blackpool this is one of the areas that we specialise support in as a charity and are promoting health and well-being as a main focus for this week.
We have a twitter campaign #YCMHWellbeing that is targeted at young carers 5-15, the aim of which is to be that social link so they seek support in a more media friendly way coming up soon. We have been encouraging family support this week; this was achieved through our ‘Bugs and Bangers’ event where we were out in our new garden. This encouraged families to be outdoors with nature together, enjoying the benefits of fresh air and socialising. We also had our Halloween party; encouraging healthy eating and social interaction between young people who are going through similar situations and problems – fun times were had!
My advice to any health professional out there is refer any young carer that you come across to services that can provide help - in the Blackpool area into the service; we support carers from the ages of 5 upwards. This can be done online through our referral form on our website and leaflet or you can contact our Main Head Office at Beaverbrook House and leave contact details, details of the young person and a brief reason why you think they are young carer.
The aim of our week is to give young people the courage to come forward and seek support, as they may not even know that they are a carer. We are out there to support them in both practical and emotional measures. And you, as professionals, could be the person that is the link to them getting them that vital support.
We also hope you can watch DIY SOS 17th November at 8 o’clock on BBC – where you can see what we achieved for young carers!
PS- I have been a Young Carer myself and am currently a Young Adult Carer and without the support of the different youth services in Blackpool and the Blackpool Carers Centre, I don’t know what my mental health and well-being would be like. So this is why this is such an important issue to raise awareness of why Young Carers need to be identified at an early age.
Tara Bragg, Blackpool Young Carers Champion
Access the Young Carers Pathway for healthcare professionals