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Young, gifted, and caring: A project narrative of young carers, their mental health, and getting them involved in education, research and practice

Authors


  • Sue mcAndrew, RMN, CPN Cert., BSc (Hons), MSc., PhD.

  • Tony Warne, RMN, MBA, PhD.

  • Debbie Fallon, RN PhD.

  • Paul Moran, CRCCYP.

  • Each of the above authors have made equal contribution to this paper.

Sue McAndrew, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Salford, Mary Seacole Building, Salford, Greater Manchester M6 6 PU, UK. Email: s.mcandrew@salford.ac.uk

ABSTRACT

Young carers are a global phenomenon. The UK estimates it has in excess of 175 000 young carers, the onset of their caring role often occurring between 8 and 10 years of age. Of these, 17 000 are caring for a parent who has severe mental illness, a significant factor for children entering the health and social care system, as up to 60% experience mental health difficulties themselves. This paper reports on the outcome of a participatory project aimed at better understanding the needs of young people. A World Café event was hosted, bringing together those involved in promoting the mental health of young people in a partnership consortium. The event was led by young service users and carers. Important issues raised by the young carers were being excluded from being included; stuck in the here and now, ignoring the future; a hole in the net; and ensuring the hidden is on the agenda. The World Café gave the university the privilege of insight into what local young carers need to improve their mental health, and more importantly, how we can utilize our skills to help them achieve their goals.

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