There are approximately 490,000 Young Carers across Australia. At least, that’s what ABS data tells us.
What this number fails to accommodate is the young people who either don’t consider themselves Young Carers, don’t know what a Young Carer is or are simply too afraid of the repercussions to identify themselves as a Young Carer.
When you take this into account, the number of Young Carers across Australia is likely far higher than originally estimated.
The fact that there is a projected two to three Young Carers in every Australian classroom is staggering. The fact that one in 10 young people have a caring role in some capacity is even more astounding. So, chances are you know someone who is a Young Carer, or you are one yourself.
What is a Young Carer?
The term ‘Young Carer’ is defined by Carers Australia as someone under the age of 25 who cares for a parent, sibling or loved one with a chronic illness, mental illness, disability or drug/alcohol addiction.
It’s understandable that many Young Carers don’t identify as such. Tasks for a Young Carer can vary from mundane – grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and paying bills – to more particular – monitoring health and medications, lifting and moving and providing emotional support for family members.
It’s a taxing job, and one that can often see their mental and physical health suffer, as well as social relationships and education.
How do I know if I’m a Young Carer?
If you’re under the age of 25 and care for a family member with an illness, disability, or addiction, you’re a Young Carer.
You may only do a few of the tasks mentioned above, you may do all of them. The extent of a Young Carer’s role varies greatly depending on circumstance.
As a Young Carer, it’s likely you’ve had to miss school or other activities to take care of your family member, and you may sometimes feel as though you dedicate more time to taking care of others than yourself. You may sacrifice more than others your age – schoolwork, friendships, personal time, etc.
As a young person, this isn’t the norm.
Did you know?
Two in three Young Carers experience mental health issues. It’s never easy balancing childhood with the adult responsibilities of a caring role. Sometimes, Young Carers need help for themselves too, and that’s ok.
Only 60% of Young Carers, and four percent of Primary Young Carers, finish high school. On top of this, 60% of Young Carers are unemployed.
We don’t want to see any Young Carer feel unsupported or disadvantaged as a direct result of their caring role. We know that being a Young Carer is just something you do, and you wouldn’t trade helping your loved one for the world. We also know that it’s not easy, and sometimes you need to take some time out for yourself. That’s ok too.
So, if you’re still not sure whether you’re a Young Carer, or if this sounds a little too familiar, send us a message or give us a call and we’ll talk it out.
We also have an online community of Young Carers on our Dreamers Hub, so you can connect and chat with Young Carers and our team members, access plenty of Carer resources and discuss your experiences as a Carer.