‘caring in mind? Professionals’ awareness of young carers and young adult carers in Switzerland

Author(s): Agnes Leu, Hannah Wepf, Joe Sempik, Martin Nagl-Cupal, Saul Becker, Corinna Jung, and Marianne Frech
Publisher: Health and Social Care in the Community
Year Published: 2020
Resource type: Peer Reviewed Research Article


This is the first national quantitative study to explore professionals’ awareness of young carers. Given the international quest to recognize and support young carers, this study sought to understand whether professionals are aware of young carers, whether they feel it is relevant to their job, and whether they can identify and support them. The authors created an online survey that reached 2,311 professionals working in education, healthcare, and social services in Switzerland. Their average age was 43 years. Results showed that familiarity for young carers was low. Professionals in healthcare and education were more aware about young carers than those working in social services. Those who were familiar with the term were more likely to report that the issue of young carers was relevant to them. After the research team gave professionals the definition of young carers, more than 50% reported to be able to identify them. This suggests that once they know who young carers are, they are able to become more aware and report they could identify them. Interestingly, professionals who work in the social services were most likely to identify young carers or think it was relevant for them than those in the education field; professionals who worked at schools were least likely to be able to identify them or think it was relevant to their work. This was striking, because past studies showed that teachers might be the “best” people to identify young carers due to their close contact with them during school. Overall, this study showed that for successful identification and support, professionals first have to know who young carers are; raising awareness is key.

Citation: Leu, A., Wepf, H., Sempik, J., Nagl-Cupal, M., Becker, S., Jung, C., & Frech, M. (2020). Caring in mind? Professionals’ awareness of young carers and young adult carers in Switzerland. Health & Social Care in the Community, 28(6), 2390-2398. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.13061

Keywords: Awareness, Professionals, Qualitative Study, Support, Young Caregivers, Young Carers

Where the data was collected: Switzerland