If a parent or close family member cannot care for themselves, it is sometimes left to the younger members of the family to look after them.
There are tens of thousands of young carers in the UK, looking after a family member whilst trying to focus on their work in school or college and have a social life. It is a huge responsibility and something that can be quite stressful to manage. Some young carers find that they cannot cope with everything very well, which often results in them neglecting their school work or social life to care for a family member who needs them.
- Being a young carer can put a strain on your physical and emotional health as it can often be a full-time job for a young person
- You may experience disturbed sleep, stress, poverty or social isolation. You may also feel angry, upset, weak and that things are getting you down
- The emotional strain of caring for someone can have a long term effect on you, so don’t keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself. Often young carers and their parents don’t talk about the extent of caring for fear of being split up or feelings of guilt or pride, but there is no shame in asking for help if you need it
- Sometimes your social life is the first thing to be neglected, which can make you feel isolated without being able to hang out with your friends or see them regularly
- There are groups of young carers that meet through organisations and online forums to socialise and support each other. It can help to talk to other young people in the same situation
- If your school or college work is suffering, speak to a teacher or tutor about your situation, sometimes they can be supportive and make arrangements for your school or college work to be flexible around your caring responsibilities
- If you are a young carer and need support or advice, there are people you can talk to who can help. You aren’t alone and you don’t have to deal with things on your own, there are professionals that will listen to you confidentially and offer advice on ways you can reduce the stress you are experiencing
You can call The Samaritans at any time for free on 116 123 to discuss any issues or problems you may have. You can also chat online with someone from Meic or call the helpline on 0808 80 23456.