If you know a young carer, you might feel like there is nothing you can do to make their situation better. The reality is that young carers really need you, even though they might not say it, and there are lots of things you can do to help them feel more supported and less alone.
• Be their safe person:
• Be compassionate and empathetic.
• Check in with them on a regular basis to find out how they are doing.
• Be supportive, nonjudgmental and try not to pry for information. Just listen to what they feel comfortable sharing.
• Focus on their perspective and experiences rather than on their family members.
• Ask the young carer what they need and want from you. Are they looking for someone who will simply listen to them and let them vent, a mentor, or someone who will challenge them?
• If you can, help them meet others who have similar experiences so they feel less alone.
• If they are ready, help facilitate opportunities for them to learn new things, improve their coping strategies, increase their support system, and have some fun.
• Help them find a safe place where they can go to relax when they need a break from their responsibilities at home.
Our communities can be positive places for young carers and their families. This can happen in a variety of ways:
• Explore ways to support young carers.
• Mobilize spiritual communities, neighbours and others to provide practical and emotional support for young carers and their families.
• Offer after-hours supports.
• Consider extending your support services to include weekends and evenings.
• Create on-call support options.
• Provide safe and comfortable spaces in community organizations and healthcare locations for young carers.
• Participate in fundraising and public awareness activities and events that support young carers.
• Don’t underestimate the impact you’re having as a caring adult.
• Share this information with your colleagues, other community members, and young carers.