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
- Childline is a helpline for children to talk about any problems 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – call free on 0800 1111 or visit childline.org.uk/get-support
- If you are in an emergency and there is a risk to life (yours or someone else’s) call 999
- To report any concerns about the safety or welfare of a child or young person call 01454 866000
There is more information in the ‘Getting help’ section.
Talk to a parent or carer or another adult you trust.
Your school can also help with your wellbeing – just ask a teacher or another member of staff.
Carers UK – a national charity making life better for carers – www.carersuk.org
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