Bringing Back The Sunshine

What is it?

Bringing Back The Sunshine (BBTS) is a new campaign, lead by The Shaw Mind Foundation. Our aim is to help children who are carers for adults with a mental illness. We will do this by reaching out to these children and young people, to offer support and understanding, so that they can continue to enjoy their childhood and make the most of their education.

Why are we doing this?

• In the UK alone, there are more than 50,000 children and young people looking after someone with mental illness.

• 50,000 children across the UK who have given up aspects, or all, of their childhood to help care for and support someone close to them.

• Out of these 50,000, 68% are bullied in school and 26% have been bullied specifically because of their caring role.

• 56% of young adult carers in college or university are struggling as a result of their caring role. Out of this 56%, 17% have said that they may have to drop out of their courses due to their caring role and 13% said that they may have to drop out for financial reasons

• 45% of child and young carers reported that they may have mental health problems themselves, and 1 in 20 young carers miss school regularly because of their role.

This data paints a horrifying picture for young carers in the UK and we can reasonably assume that the situation is far worse than these statistics appear, due to the fact that some young people are unlikely to recognise that they are a carer for their parent/ guardian, and even those that do are unlikely to come forward and seek support due to stigma and fear of repercussions.

In addition, there is a real risk of significant financial implications for families where children and young people are caring for their parents. Often, due to their illness, parents find it difficult, or are unable, resulting in families living financially deprived lifestyles, with children often missing out on things such as school trips, friends’ parties and holidays. This can have a dramatic effect on their own mental health and wellbeing.

What are we doing?

Bringing Back The Sunshine will create supportive connections for young carers so that they know that they are not alone, and that help and support is available to them.

We will do this by providing care and support facilities, such as counselling support, for children and young people, to help them deal with the mental and emotional strains on their health, that come with being a carer.

We want all children to know that they have the right to thrive and that by seeking help and support we will work with them to enable them to continue to succeed in their lives, and have what is rightfully theirs – a childhood.

In addition to providing therapeutic support via our partnership with local counselling services we will grant wishes to these children for activities and events such as day trips, weekend breaks – activities that they might otherwise not be able to enjoy due to the impact of their caring role.

How can you help?

We are looking for individuals and companies willing to help support these children and young people any way that they can.

Donations made to the project will go to ensuring that help and support is available to children and young people when they need it, as well as going towards granting wishes for those who are nominated by family, friends, GPs, teachers etc.

If you are able to donate a high-profile prize, this will be used to raffle and generate further income to ensure that the service is kept running throughout the year.

Sponsor the campaign – we are happy for companies to financially sponsor our campaign for a minimum term of 12 months. This will include having your company name and logo on any website, press releases, information packs etc that are sent out.

For further information, or if you want to get involved, click here to contact us.

Case Study

Kelly’s Story
I live at home with my mum Fiona and my younger sister, Samantha. Mum has anxiety issues, panic attacks and takes medication for depression.

My job is to reassure her every day that everything is okay. She gets really anxious and does this routine every night before she goes to bed to make sure everything is switched off and locked; she also switches off each light in the house saying, “Off! Off! Off!” but if her finger slips, she will have to start all over again.

She’s usually in bed by 9pm after taking her medication for depression, leaving me in charge. I remember one day she left the gas cooker on which could have set the house on fire. After she’d turned if off, she’d accidently nudged the gas knob and switched it on again. She also once left the chip pan on, which was really scary.

She copes with her anxiety by sleeping during the day as it helps her stop worrying, but it doesn’t stop me worrying.

I don’t feel anyone really understands what I have to go through or how anxious I often feel. Looking after my mum and sister is a constant worry and I have to rush home every day after college to make tea, clean and shop.

Because mum’s frightened of leaving the cooker on, I have to do all the cooking and help out with the housework. Mum’s too scared to go out alone so I have to take her everywhere which leaves me little time to spend with my friends.

My sister’s 15, but she’s really young for her age so I feel responsible for her too. I sometimes feel like I’m missing out on time with my friends, but my mum really needs my help so I have no choice.