Lauren Donnan, a former young carer and PhD student at the University of Auckland, wants to help set up the support all young carers need.
Her research looks into the lives and experiences of young carers in the country and she’s interviewed almost 40 current and former young carers as part of her work.
But she’s wary of focusing solely on the negatives without taking in consideration how much caring benefits young people.
“One of the things that really stuck out for me in the interviews was that the young carers would never take that caring experience back. They loved it, and if anyone had tried to take it away, they wouldn’t have let them.”
Before being able to put support in place for the carers, says Lauren, young New Zealanders first have to recognise that they are young carers.
“If you don’t know something exists, how can you see it and how can you help? It’s about how we reach young carers to self-identify.”