*So what can you do?*
You can take action on this issue whether you are a young carer or not. So all you non-carers out there, take note on how you can help, too! Here are some ideas for carers and other people interested in taking action.
_If you are a young carer:_
*Give yourself a pat on the back!
*There are heaps of support services and info that could be helping you - so read about them below and contact them to see what kinds of programs and info are available to you.
*You can share some of your experiences with other young carers in online forums. Or, if you don't feel comfortable sharing your experiences yet, try keeping a journal - it's good to write about your feelings.
*Find out about the illness/disability/addiction of the person you are caring for - this might help you understand the kinds of help they need better, and it can help to do some research if you are giving this person medication too.
*If you don’t think there is enough support for you in your community, let some one know - a teacher, mentor, family member, local youth services, local member of parliament.
* Jessica Rowe, Channel 10 News reader, was a young carer, and here is the advice she offers you: "My advice would be, just be proud of what you're doing. The courage and strength you have makes you extraordinary young people! Also, don't be afraid to ask for help. You don't always have to be strong, try to find someone you can lean on."
*Make sure you take some time out for yourself - you are doing a really important job, but you're not going to be much help if you are tired, stressed or unhappy! So try to timetable in some time for you! :)
_If you are not a young carer:_
*Be supportive of young carers in your community - even just being aware helps. But if you want to take it a couple steps further, set up a support group with the help of your local youth service (if there is not one already) and then promote your group as an opportunity for young carers to meet other young people and have some time out!
*Volunteer to help look after some people in your community who need you. You could be giving a young carer a well-deserved break! Try contacting a local service to ask them how you can help.
*Read up on young carers. There are a lot of them out there, you know…so it helps to know what a great job they are doing in your community!
*Wanna know more?*
You can start by visiting some of these websites that have info for young people about carers.
*http://www.youngcarers.net This is an online service for Young Carers from The Princess Royal Trust for Carers. As well as having lots of info, Young Carers can join a discussion forum to chat with others who are carers.
*http://www.reachout.com.au has info, fact sheets and related links for people wanting info about young carers.
*http://www.youngcarers.net.au is a site for young carers across Australia - this site has info on how to find help, profiles of young carers, info on how to volunteer and get involved.
*http://www.youngcarersnsw.asn.au is a site with loads of info for young carers, especially those in NSW. It features info on how to get help, the young carers project, stories from carers, how to get involved and help if you are not a carer.
*http://www.carersaustralia.com.au features the Young Carers Research Project Report compiled by the Department of Family and Community Services. This report is the final component of the Young Carers Research Project.
*http://www.carers-sa.asn.au This site has lots of great info for young carers, including info on the importance of taking time out, relaxation, plus info on services that can help you if you live in South Australia.
*http://www.cyclopsact.org --Connecting Young Carers to Life Opportunities and Personalised Support. If you live in the ACT, this is the site you should visit. It has loads of info for young carers and those who work with them.
If you wanna chat to someone, or find out about services near you, call the Carer Respite Centre from anywhere in Australia on -1800 059 059.
This work is licenced under an Attribution licence.
© 2008. First published on actnow.com.au
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