An award-winning carer from Brighton is campaigning to change the way young people are stereotyped after being misjudged herself due to devoting time to caring for her mum.
Hatty Berry (16) - who won the Carer of the Year at the Child of Sussex awards this year - cares for her mother, Shona, who suffers from a condition called Fibromyalgia.
The disorder often leaves Shona with all-body muscle pain, and frequently makes her feel tired and fatigued. This means Hatty has to do a lot of tasks for her mother, including helping her bathe and dress.
Caring for her mother has meant that her teenage years have suffered, and Hatty can be tired and stressed. Now Hatty wants to make adults - particularly teachers and health professionals - aware of the stresses young carers have in their lives.
“It can be stressful for Hatty, as she had to do a lot of things that other young people do not have to do,” said Shona.
“It can be tough because it does put responsibility on Hatty sometimes, and I think people do not understand that. Instead they judge her and her behaviour, and often do not understand how hard she has to work."
Hatty wants to stop misconceptions held towards young carers, encouraging people to look beyond the often distressed behaviour they may show to discover what may actually be causing them to act anti-socially.
“I want to fix the problem of young people like me being judged," she said. "A lot of behaviours from young peopel are irritating, and it is not always excusable. But a lot of the time these people are suffering at home or from some problem, and they feel trapped,” said Hatty.
“Using my experience as a carer, I want to show that there are many reasons why young people behave the way they do, and dismissing them does not help understand young people better.
"Sometimes I do get stressed, and sometimes this effects my behaviour. But it is all for reasons beyond people's stereotypes, and I want people to see that."
Hatty, who is currently studying for her GCSEs, is creating a film with Fixers which focuses on the lives of three misbehaving young people, first showing them as they appear to the public, before going ‘behind the scenes’ to analyse the problems in their lives and how these affect them on a daily basis.
“I just want this film to be helpful to people who deal with young people, such as teachers, to promote a better understanding of the problems young people face.”