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Following the news last week that a quarter of a million children provide care, local organisations have revealed that Gloucestershire is one of only eight localities to receive funding from the Department for Education to introduce a whole family approach in supporting young carers.

Local charity Gloucestershire Young Carers and ²gether NHS Foundation Trust’s partnership is one of only eight across the UK to be chosen by Carers Trust, a national charity, to receive grant funding from the Department for Education, to deliver a new Gloucestershire Family Mental Health Empowerment Project.

Parenting can be a real challenge and when you are also trying to cope with mental distress, things can be really tough for the whole family. But help is at hand for families in Gloucestershire with the launch of an exciting new project.

The Gloucestershire Family Mental Health Empowerment Project will offer support to both parents and children in families where a parent experiences serious mental health issues.

More than 200 young carers, some as young as eight, could benefit.

Mandy Bell, Mental Health Lead at Gloucestershire Young Carers, said: ‘This is a real opportunity for us to work in partnership with mental health services to embed a whole family approach which ensures that the needs of both the parent and child are addressed right from the start.’

Research evidence has shown that the health and wellbeing of vulnerable young carers can be improved by identifying families who may be at risk early and by taking a whole family support approach from the very start.

Lucy Garden, an Occupational Therapist working at ²gether and the project’s Family Empowerment Worker said: “Gloucestershire Young Carers and ²gether are working even closer together to help make sure that the needs of the whole family are identified and supported and we’re already seeing the difference.

The joint project aims to minimise the impact of parental mental illness on dependent children by: recognising and supporting the parents in their role; increasing identification of young carers; and building resilience of young carers and families.

Lucy continued: “By speaking with and involving all family members, we can help understand and identify specific needs and assist all family members to get the support that they need. Young carers benefit from feeling less isolated, parents feel more empowered and the whole family are more able to talk about and resolve the challenges that they are facing together.”

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