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.
If your organization works with young carers and their families, these suggestions can help you better meet their needs:
• Ensure your website has information that is interactive and accessible for individuals of all ages.
• Provide safe and comfortable programs or places where they can share their experiences and feelings and connect with other young carers. Ask young carers what location works best for them.
• Create opportunities for young carers to connect. Awareness campaigns or fundraising events are a great way to help young carers meet others who are in a similar situation in an informal environment.
• Post information about local crisis lines and provide resources to young carers about what to do in emergency or crisis situations.
• Train staff to understand and support young carers and their needs.
• Consider providing support online for convenience and privacy.
• Create low cost or no cost recreation opportunities, so they have a safe and supervised place to be themselves, have fun, and relax.
• Don’t underestimate the impact you’re having as a caring adult.
• Share this information with your colleagues, other community members, and young carers.