Mental Health Carers NSW (MHCN) welcomes the additional $96 million dollars announced to support young carers. MHCN hopes that this will be applied to programs that specifically address the obstacles they encounter in education, training and employment, including through expanded access to respite and other direct support for their caring roles.
However, MHCN is concerned that placing emphasis on the long term economic welfare costs of young carers on the Australian economy does not validate, recognise nor respect the valuable care provided by young carers to their families or acknowledge their considerable personal sacrifice.
Young carers provide thousands of hours of unpaid care to their loved ones on a weekly basis. While the Australian economy does not have to directly fund this cost, it is a cost borne by young carers (and therefore indirectly the whole community), in the form of missed social and economic opportunities, increased financial stress, difficulties completing education or training and sometimes inability to maintain employment due to the consuming time demands and responsibilities of their caring roles.
Young carers save the Australian economy tens of billions of dollars annually by providing the care and support that their loved ones need. This is especially the case in the area of mental illness and psycho-social disability where poorly developed and coordinated clinical and disability support services often mean that families must step in to provide care that is simply not provided by public health services.