Who Cares?


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Information and awareness magazine for Young Adult Carers

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Who Who Cares? www.carersfirst.org.uk 0300 303 1555 …..We do Looking after your mental health Knowing your rights 10 tips to reduce stress An information magazine for young adults, in particular those who care for a relative or a friend Next steps


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CONTENTS CONTENT 4…. Who are Young Adult Carer? 6…. How Do I Feel? QUIZ 8…. Managing Stress 10…Know Your Rights 11… Money Matters 12… Looking after your Mental Health 16… How to get support at school, college and work 18… Does Food Affect Your Mood? 20.. A problem shared… 22.. Taking the next steps 24.. Challenges and Rewards of being a carer 26.. A Carer’s story 27.. Get the facts 28.. Signposting We would like to say A BIG THANK YOU to all of the fabulous Young Adult Carers who contributed to this magazine Disclaimer: All content within Who Carers? magazine is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. The creators, staff and Carers FIRST are not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of this magazine. Carers FIRST is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the pages.


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Welcome to Who Cares? magazine We know that growing up can be tough, trying to juggle school/ college, work, relationships, hormones, friends and family. When you are caring for someone, it can be even harder. We have made this magazine to help you through some of the challenges of growing up and moving into adulthood. It is also full of information to help Young Adult Carers get the additional support they may need to keep all of those balls in the air! Who Cares? …..we do!


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AM I A YOUNG ADULT CARER? Carers are people who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend with an illness or disability, mental health condition or an addiction. Young Adult Carers are aged between 14 and 25 You could be caring for a parent, sibling, grandparent, friend, other relative or neighbour If you think this might be you, then do contact us: 0300 303 1555 facebook.com/CFYoung.adults18 youngadults@carersfirst.org.uk. Carers FIRST supports YACs from Cranbrook, Tunbridge Wells, through to Edenbridge, Swanley, Dartford and Gravesham, offering 1-1 support, opportunities to come along to social groups and trips and meet other young adults in the same situation as you. We run workshops to help you with your caring role and how to make sure you are looking after yourself, we can help you to access training and support you to get a job. 4 www.carersfirst.org.uk


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Being a young person who cares for someone doesn't mean you can't follow your dreams there are lots of successful people who have grown up caring for a family member Ortise Williams: Singer in boy-band JLS, Ortise was just 12 when he became the main caregiver to his mother Sonia, his younger sister Naomi, then 2, and his brother Temisan, then 10. Ortise described it as 'exhausting' but said it was the desire to provide for his family that propelled him to succeed. Jade Ewes: Singer & songwriter Jade Ewes who sang in the Sugarbabes, cared for her mum and dad. When her mum became too ill she and her siblings had to take on a lot of the household jobs when they were younger. Jo Whiley: DJ & TV presenter cared for her sister who has Cri du Chat syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes behavioural difficulties. “Being a young carer has made me the person I am” Bradley Hannaford: Accountant and cocktail bar tender. Bradley has accessed support from the Carers FIRST Young Adult Carer Team. “I have cared for my younger brother who has autism for most of my life, and being a young carer has taught me never to give up and dream big!” 0300 303 1555 5


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How do I feel? Take our quick quiz to find out how you are doing…. Question 1 A friend of yours at college invites you to come along to listen to their band play this evening. Do you… A. Jump at the chance and offer to play the tambourine for them! B. Say you wish you could, but you can’t leave the person you care for at night. C. Snap at your friend and tell them you have no time for fun Question 3 You have had a really sore throat for 2 weeks and not sleeping well. Do you…. A. Make an appointment with your GP...better to be safe than sorry! B. Buy throat sweets and lemsip and hope it goes away soon C. You haven’t got time to go to the doctors, it will go away eventually. Question 2 You are talking to your friend on Facebook when the person you care for says they need you to pick up their medicine from town. Do you... A. Ask your mate to meet you in town so you can finish your conversation in person B. Take a few deep breaths and tell your mate you will be back soon. C. Cut your friend off and slam the door on the way out. Question 4 You are late handing in a piece of work and your tutor is asking for it. Do you….. A. Explain you care for someone at home so are a bit behind and ask for an extension B. Stay up until late that night to get it done, but you are so tired it’s not your best work. C. Tell your tutor you can’t be bothered as you hate that subject anyway 6 www.carersfirst.org.uk


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Your results: Mostly As: It sounds like you are doing well juggling your caring role with other commitments such as school and friends. Be sure to continue to do what you are doing and know where to go if times get more challenging. Mostly Bs: You are doing a really good job of caring while trying to do all of the things a young person wants to, like go out with friends and do well at school. Maybe you could do with a bit of support so you don’t burn yourself out or become isolated. It’s important you look after yourself. Mostly Cs: You are doing such a good job of caring for your relative or friend that you are not looking after your own health and wellbeing and you are at risk of becoming unwell and stressed that you are unable to care. It would be a good idea to contact your local Carers Centre to see what support they can put in place for you...it’s NOT a weakness to ask for help. It’s quite normal for you to answer differently depending how you feel that day. Just try to be aware of what triggers you shifting from mostly As to Cs and get help as soon as you can Carers FIRST : 0300 303 1555 : www.carersfirst.org.uk www.nhs.uk/Livewell/youth-mental-health : call 111 Carers UK : 0808 808 7777 : www.carersuk.org Don’t forget you can always visit your GP. Make sure to tell them that you are a Young Adult Carer 0300 303 1555 7


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Managing stress As a carer you may be under a lot of stress caused by many situations including your caring responsibilities. This can lead you to feeling angry, frustrated and hopeless. These feelings are not uncommon. Stress can lead to health problems, affecting your well being, and can have an impact on those around you. Stress can be caused by many things including; worrying about money, relationships, the future, the health of the person you care for and other family members. Symptoms can include: Headaches ne ss re d Tearfulness Weight Anxiety An ge r n Lo ne eli ss Ap e tit e p Your stress levels can vary throughout your life. Often its worth talking to your GP as they may be able to refer you to counselling or other support methods. Its always good to use your friends or family for support. Here are some useful numbers and websites if you feel stressed: Young Minds : www.youngminds.org.uk Get Connected : 0808 808 4994 : www.getconnected.org.uk www.nhs.uk/Livewell/youth-mental-health 8 Ti www.carersfirst.org.uk


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10 tips to reduce stress….. 1. Try some light yoga. The combination of deep breathing techniques and poses makes this activity work to reduce stress, too . 2. Breathe deep. Taking a deep breath has been shown to lower cortisol levels, which can help reduce stress and anxiety 3. Listen to music. Music can help relieve stress and can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music 4. Laugh it off. Laughter can reduce the physical effects of stress (like fatigue) on the body 5. Exercise. That post-exercise endorphin rush is one way to sharply cut stress 6. Take a nap. Napping has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, which aids in stress relief 7. Hug it out. Hugging may actually reduce blood pressure and stress levels in adults 8. Do an art project. Art therapy can potentially reduce stress-related behaviour and symptoms 9. Write it out. Keeping a journal can relieve stress-related symptoms due to its reflective effects, pick a time every day to write down a few things that make you happy 10. Take a walk. A quiet, meditative stroll can do wonders for stress relief, especially when we step outdoors. Try not to rush, and take whatever pace feels most natural 0300 303 1555 9


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KNOW YOUR RIGHTS YOUNG ADULT CARERS OVER 18 HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR AN ASSESSMENT TO FIND OUT WHAT SUPPORT IS NEEDED As a young adult carer you have a right to be supported and to get the help you need. Young Adult Carers have the right to request a transition assessment beYOUNG ADULT CARERS HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE YOUNG ADULTS AS WELL AS CARERS YOUNG ADULT CARERS OVER 16 HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK IF THEY ARE ELIGIBLE FOR CARERS ALLOWANCE Young Adult Carers have the right to an assessment even if the person they are caring for does not get support themselves OUT FOR MORE INFORMTION AB CARERS HUB ON R OU LL CA SE EA PL TS EN M ASSESS E CARERS TRUST AT TH T SI VI OR 55 15 3 30 00 03 K WWW.CARERSTRUST.ORG.U 10 www.carersfirst.org.uk


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Money Matters NUS EXTRA is great for all students, costing just £12 for a year. Saving yourself loads of money at some big brands, including: Odeon, Amazon and Pizza Hut. Also a thing to note is not all places advertise that they do student discount so it doesn't hurt to ask! 16-25 Railcard is really worth your money, saving 1/3 on all off peak train fares (on peak varies so always check) Usually costing £30, but you may find deals for example 12% OFF using NUS student card, you can also use Tesco clubcard points. UNiDAYS is free to join but you need to register and verify your account with details from your university. You’ll get 100s of discounts from retailers & restaurants and there is a free app to make it even easier! Managing your money well is a great feeling. It gives you the confidence to make decisions, do the things you want to do in life and plan for the future. Sometimes, though, money can make you feel scared, out of control or worried about what the future will bring. You might get into debt – or worry about your family finances. If you need some advice, talk to a teacher, staff at Carers FIRST or a family member. Check out some of the websites below who can offer help. www.savethestudent.org Personal Finance Education Group : www.pfeg.org www.themoneycharity.org : hello@themoneycharity.org www.citizensadvice.org.uk 0300 303 1555 11


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Looking after your Mental Health Dealing with things can get quite hard, but maybe its more than just a bad day. If you have continuing problems with sleeping, poor appetite or just not being interested in the things you used to be these could be signs of a mental illness. Mental Illnesses are disorders of brain function, that can have many causes. They can happen to anyone for many different reasons. If you think you, or someone you know suffers from a mental illness you should contact a medical professional like your GP. It’s tough when it comes to dealing with these feelings, but you must remember your feelings are valid and someone is always there to help. Take a look at the list below, and if some of the things sound familiar and you’ve been experiencing them for a few weeks or more, you may need to do something: Problems getting to sleep, or waking up early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep again. Poor appetite. Feeling really knackered Not feeling like going out. even when you haven’t done much. Aches and pains for no apparent reason or feeling run down. Not being interested in the things you used to be. Repeatedly getting headaches or migraines. Feeling anxious and irritable for no real reason, or having difficulty managing your anger 12 www.carersfirst.org.uk


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What’s what... Anxiety Disorders: Disturbances in brain mechanisms designed to protect you from harm Mood Disorders: Disturbances in usual mood states Psychotic Disorders: Disturbance of thinking perception and behaviour Personality Disorders: Maladaptive personal characteristics Eating Disorders: Disturbances of weight and feeding behaviour Developmental Disorders: Early disturbances in usual brain development Behavioural Disorders: Persistent disturbances in expected behaviours Addictions: Disorders of craving Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders: Including OCD, hoarding, body dysmorphic disorder 0300 303 1555 13


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Ways to look after your mental health... If you’re concerned about your mental health you should contact your GP www.youngminds.org.uk https://matter.carers.org www.nhs.uk/Livewell/youth-mental-health www.childline.org.uk : 0800 1111 www.samaritans.org : 116 123 : jo@samaritans.org 14 www.carersfirst.org.uk


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It’s good to talk.. Often Young Adult Carers ask “What’s the point in me telling someone I am caring for someone”? It’s not a weakness to ask for some help and talking can lead to solutions. You may find that talking to others in a similar position to you helps. Come along to one of Carers FIRST support groups, call 0300 303 1555 or take a look at Carers Trust’s on-line community, www.matter.carer.org to talk to your peers, or support workers. Identify a staff member at school or college you can talk to, and tell them you are caring for someone. They may be able to give you extra time to complete assignments and be more sympathetic if you need to take time off If you feel persistently unhappy or that you can no longer cope, don't keep it a secret. Telling someone how you feel, whether it's a friend, counsellor or doctor, may bring an immediate sense of relief. Call Carers FIRST on 0300 303 1555 where you can speak to our team who will do all they can to help you 0300 303 1555 15



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