Today, the 6th of October, is European Carers Day and we want to remember those who have been caregivers from a young age.
A young carer is a child, adolescent or young adult who takes a significant role in caring for a family member who suffers from e.g. a physical or mental illness, disability or addiction, assuming responsibilities usually associated with an adult. Young caregivers are many more than imagined and are often invisible; research suggests that 2–8% of children and young people in Europe are involved in caregiving (Leu A. & Becker, 2017; Leu et al. 2019) although it is likely that these numbers are underestimated.
Being a young carer can be a source of gratification and satisfaction, but also a source of negative emotions such as stress, anger, sadness, guilt. Moreover, when caring commitments are significant, it can be difficult to attend school regularly and profitably, see friends, find a job. Since caring for a family member can impact on so many aspects of a young carer’s life, the areas of intervention to support them are many and varied. Providing informal care by children and young people in Europe has thus been recognised as a new form of vulnerability. In response to this, the Erasmus + NEXUS Project intends to develop, test and disseminate a training programme aimed at improving the skills of professionals working with young carers, enabling them to contribute to the development of evidence-based policies in support of young carers, through participatory research and direct involvement of the young people they work with.
To stay updated on the NEXUS project results, visit our website nexusproject.eu!