Leigh is 20 years old. She shares her experience of caring for her mother and how professionals in education settings and health and social care can support young carers.
"Being a carer can happen to anyone, that is the key message that I want you to understand.
It can happen whether you are aware of it or not, sometimes things can change quickly and you become a carer because a loved one is in an accident.
But sometimes it is gradual over time.
If someone who you are close to or related to ends up in a situation where they need help it is a no-brainer to help them, but when that becomes a lot of help that you are providing it can be hard.
My mam got gradually worse over time, around 2015 she started to need more support with her health, it is very up and down.
If there are any health professionals that meet people who have either a physical or mental health illness who couldn’t manage without support it is really important to ask them ‘is someone at home providing care and support?’
And to know what to do if they say yes.
Pass on the right information.
As a carer a lot of the things that I do day-to-day feel like common sense to me, my mam is poorly so I help her, because I just do it I hadn’t realised that my life was any different to other people but now when I look back I realise I could have done with some help sooner.
A lot of what professionals can do is to find the time to listen and understand. Understand that I might need the right information explained to me as my mam might not always remember everything because of her health.
Schools also need to understand that young people with a caring role might need extra support. If a student has poor attendance its not that they don’t want to be there, it might be that they are caring and just need more help.
Don’t assume that people know that they are carers.
Don’t assume that people know that there is help available for them.
Everyone needs to be more aware of carers."