Paul’s story: How creative arts help young carers boost their mental health
art:space, our partnership with British Land, is our multi-artform project for young carers. During February 2018, our professional artist Jen worked with a group of young carers using the medium of printmaking to develop confidence, creative and social skills, and build relationships with other young carers while having a vital – and fun – break from their caring responsibilities.
Paul, who cares for his dad who suffers from depression, attends Kingston Young Carers Project and took part in the workshops. He talks about his experience:
“I care for my dad. He has, I don’t know if you would call it an illness, but something called depression where he gets stressed and upset very easily and it can be hard sometimes. I’ve been caring for my dad since I can remember. I think young carers tend to spend a lot more time with their family. People that don’t have someone to care for someone tend to be more sociable and have more friends.
We have been printing on t shirts and bags for the last few days which has been fun. Making something gives you a feeling of pride. It was great working with a professional artist that has so much experience, she was able to show us new techniques and bring the most out of us. It was good working with the group as everyone had different styles and different ideas about what they wanted to make. Doing something creative was great especially as there were loads more resources here that we would never have access to at home.
Being creative helps me relax. Projects like these definitely help as they distract us and let us have good times. They help me realise I can do more than I thought I could.”
In the UK there is an estimated 700,000 young carers who have varying degrees of caring responsibilities, some spending more than 50 hours each week caring for a loved one. Young carers often have no creative outlet and lack the chance to play with their peers.
Our projects offer a chance for young carers to develop confidence and friendships with other young carers who understand the issues they face. All our workshops are run by professional artists, ensuring that our participants work with the most inspiring, skilled, creative people.