Young Carers Central
Who are young carers
A young carer is anyone who is under the age of 25 and who lives with a parent or sibling with a mental illness. A young carer may provide care for a parent or sibling for up to 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. This level of responsibility can have a huge impact on that young person's ability to manage the demands of their own lives.
Some of the areas of a young carer's life that are often affected can be:
- Their ability to understand and make sense of what is happening in their lives
- High stress, anxiety, isolation and low self esteem
- Lower school attendance and performance levels
- Low levels of engagement with peers in social activities and other social involvement
- The ability to take time out to relax
- Education and career prospects
Some of the things young carers can do to look after themselves:
- Try to schedule into the week some regular time to relax with friends
- Play and spend time with your pet (if you have one)
- Keeping a journal of how you feel can be helpful
- Do something creative - draw or paint a picture
- Have a nap
- Go for a walk
- Talk to a trusted person about how you feel
- If things get really hard, talk to your school counsellor or teacher about it
- Ask for help when you need it
The main things for a young carer to remember are:
- You don't have to do this alone, there is assistance out there.
- There are a lot of other young people in a similar situation as you.
Young Carers Central is only just beginning. It is hoped that you will find what you want here as time goes on. Meanwhile, please contact your closest Carer Assist office.
Before he left the house this morning!
Andrew made the school lunches, fed the toddler, hung out a load of washing and checked the fridge to see what had to be brought for the families meal that night.
So What you say?
Andrew is nine years old......
Andrew is living in a household where is parent is effected by a mental illness.
Andrew is just one of the over a million children living in Australian households where at least one parent has a mental illness.(Mayberry and Rupert 2005)
Life can be complicated for these COPMI (Children of parents with a mental illness).
These children may find themselves with additional responsibilites at home as well as attending school full time. They may have little or no time for the other social, recreational and sporting pursuits enjoyed by many children.
In addition they also worry about what will happen to themselves and other brothers and sisters should their parent become very unwell and need to be hospitalised.
Unfortunately for many children in a similiar situation to Andrew, (others in the community (even others in their extended family) may not know of the challenges COPMI face.
The stigma associated with having a mental illness in the family may prevent other relatives, like aunties, uncles and grandparents reaching out to the available support services for the children of the person living with a mental illnes.
Others in the community (school staff, sporting clubs, childcare, religious organisations, the parents of their school peers) may also be able to support these children living in a family where their parent has a mental illness.
COPMI Support worker
COPMI in the news.
Good Friends Help Us Bounce Back
Life is full of ups and downs and we all need our friends to help us stay strong and cope better.
Community Development Officer for Mental Health, Bev Denley, based at Sunflower House in Wagga Wagga, (Phone 0422371322) is very impressed with a group of "good friends" from Ungarie. She reports......
"When a group of friends is facing the destruction of their much loved bush life style because loggers with chain saws aew coming to clear the area, life becomes very stressful for each of them.
The friends find their usual coping strategies just aren't working!
Relationships and well being are strained as each of the friends faces the prospect of becoming homless.
This group of friends isn't just the usual group of people, infact they're not people at all!
The friends are a close knit group of animals.....quirky, little turtle who is very depressed, a feisty koala with anger issues, an overworked mother quoll who is exhausted and can't think straight, a fragile emu recovering from an eating disorder, an anxiuos kangaroo preoccupied with obsessively cleaning her pouch and an enthusiastic wombat, who has lots of great ideas but is living with wild mood swings.....
These six animals remind us that "tough times" we need our friends more than ever....because with the support of friends we can usually think more clearly and get the help we need to see us through.
That was the message from six talented Ungarie Central School students:
Koala (Jade McKay), Emu (Rhianne Forrest), Kangaroo (Tanikah French), Quoll (Renae Bradley), Wombat (Louise Hunter) & Turtle (Jamie-Lee Mant) who researched their play "Battle for the bush" for the Dramatic Festival jheld in Wagga Wagga recently.
With the giudence of their very enthusiastic teacher, Brony Mason, the students from Ungarie Central School used the animal characters in their play to explore some very challenging mental health issues.