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Steep decline in mental health of Scottish young carers following Coronavirus outbreak


By Kirsty Brown

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A new survey by Carers Trust Scotland has revealed a steep decline in the mental health and wellbeing of young people across Scotland who provide unpaid care at home for family members or friends.

The survey, published today, is the first of its kind to provide a base of evidence for how worries relating to Coronavirus and increased isolation caused by the lockdown has affected the mental health and wellbeing of Scotland’s young people with caring responsibilities.

It is part of a larger Carers Trust survey of young carers from across the UK, with young carers (aged 12 to 17) and young adult carers (aged 18 to 25) responding to the survey.

Even before the outbreak of Coronavirus, young carers and young adult carers were all too often spending significant amounts of time caring for a relative in addition to the time they needed to spend on education, work and time for themselves.

Coronavirus has significantly increased those pressures.

The survey found that 10.6 percent of young carers in Scotland who responded to the survey said that they had seen the number of hours they spend caring per week increase by 30 hours.

A similar proportion of young adult carers reported the same increase in caring hours per week.

Most disturbing of all, 6.4 percent of young carers and 10.59 percent of young adult carers who responded to the survey said that they are now spending over 90 hours a week caring for a family member or friend.

When asked what difference Coronavirus had made to them, 58 percent of young carers in Scotland said their education was suffering and 45 percent said their mental health had worsened.

Asked the same question, 68 percent of young adult carers said their mental health had become worse and 42 percent said they had been unable to take a break from caring.

Responding to findings, director of Scotland and Northern Ireland at Carers Trust Louise Morgan said: “This is the first snapshot of how Coronavirus is affecting thousands of young people with caring responsibilities across Scotland, and the results are extremely concerning.

"It’s clear that the pandemic has made what was already a very worrying picture for young carers in Scotland far, far worse.

"That’s why we are calling for more support and more services to ensure that young people with caring responsibilities get the support they need.”

The survey also revealed that:

  • 69 percent of young carers and 76 percent of young adult carers in Scotland felt less able to stay in touch with friends since coronavirus.
  • 74 percent of young carers and 73 percent of young adult carers in Scotland said they are feeling less connected to others since coronavirus.
  • 69 percent of young carers and 76 percent of young adult carers in Scotland said they are feeling more stressed since coronavirus.
  • 59 percent of young adult carers in Scotland are struggling to look after themselves.
  • 56 percent of young adult carers in Scotland are feeling overwhelmed by the pressures they are facing now.

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