Young carers are children and young people who look after someone in their family. It might be a brother, sister, a parent or other family member who has:
- a disability
- a long-term illness
- is affected by mental ill health
- is affected by substance misuse
Young carers often take on responsibilities which are normally only expected of an adult. It might be that you are looking after the person who is ill or needing to look after other family members if they can’t.
Looking after someone can be very rewarding, but it can also be hard work. Sometimes other people don’t understand what it is you do and why you don’t have as much free time as other young people.
And sometimes it’s too much. It’s important that you look after yourself, to understand that you have the right to be looked after, and to know where you can go for support.
Young carers face a variety of issues. If you feel you need support you can talk to your teacher, school nurse, college counsellor or GP.
Issues which young carers might face include:
- stressed by too much responsibility
- physically tired
- feeling isolated and lonely
- worried about your relative’s health
- coping with other people’s mood
- no time for yourself or your homework
- missing school
- feeling embarrassed about your situation
- being bullied
- low self-esteem, anxiety, anger or guilt
- not having support due to being a ‘hidden’ young carer
- experiencing a lack of understanding from peers and professionals
You are not alone and help is there for you.
The Carers Support Centre has a Young Carers Service which provides help and support to children aged 8-18, their families, and professionals working with young carers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
There are young carers groups where you can socialise, make friends and have fun. The Carers Support Centre also provides 1:1 and group support. Information, advice and newsletters. To find out more visit – www.carerssupportcentre.org.uk/young-carers
Young Carers: 0117 958 9980
Carersline: 0117 965 2200
Schools employ a variety of people to look after your wellbeing. Some of the titles of these staff may vary in your school but you will be able to find out about them from a teacher. Most schools have a nurse who will either have a drop-in clinic or you can make an appointment to see them.
GP – you can make an appointment to visit your doctor or a nurse at the surgery to talk about any worries or concerns you have.
CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) – these are community teams that help children and young people with emotional, behavioural and mental health difficulties.
Off the Record – free mental health support for 11-18 year olds. www.otrbristol.org.uk, 0808 808 9120, text 07896880011.
South Gloucestershire Talking Therapies – free support for people aged 16 and over. www/iapt-sglos.awp.nhs.uk/ 0117 378 4270.
Carers UK – a national charity making life better for carers – www.carersuk.org
ChildLine – free helpline for children and young people to talk about any problem 2 hours a day, 7 days a week. 0800 1111 www.childline.org.uk.
Samaritans – if something is troubling you call 08457 90 90 90 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mix – telephone and email support for under 25’s. Freephone 0808 808 4994 (1pm-11pm) Text 80849 www.themix.org.uk.
Young Minds – the UK’s leading charity committed to improving the wellbeing and mental health of children and young people. youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself/young-carers/
Reading Well; Shelf Help – a list of recommended books to help young people deal with a range of issues, available in all libraries. www.southglos.gov.uk/leisure-and-culture/libraries/recommended-booklist/reading-well-shelf-life/