Are you 19 or under and helping care for someone you live with, like a parent, brother or sister or an older relative? If so, you could be a young carer.
The person you care for may have:
- a long-term illness like cancer or epilepsy
- mental health issues like depression or schizophrenia
- problems with drugs or alcohol
- a sensory impairment like being blind or deaf
- a learning or physical disability.
What do young carers have to do?
You might do different things to care for the person you live with, such as:
- helping them get washed and dressed
- lifting them in and out of bed
- looking after younger brothers or sisters
- shopping, cooking and cleaning
- giving emotional support by listening when they are upset and giving advice.
If you think you might be a young carer, you can get lots of help and support from the Young Carers Service at Care for the Carers. We can help you by:
- meeting you at school, college or somewhere else for a chat, to give you advice or simply listen
- speaking to your school, social workers and doctors on your behalf to make sure your voice is heard and help professionals to understand your situation
- arranging for you to have time out to do activities, meet other young carers and get involved with activities like bowling, swimming and short breaks away
- organising a Carers Assessment with Social Services if you are 16 or over. This is where you can request help with things that will make your caring role easier for you.
The Young Carers Service
8 St. Leonards Road
Phone: 01323 738390, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5 pm.
You can always ask a parent, teacher or Connexions PA to contact us for you
Is it confidential? I don’t want people to know I’m a young carer
You might feel embarrassed about your situation and you might think it makes you different. Caring for someone can be a unique and rewarding experience and you may be afraid that if you ask for help people may interfere. We will keep what you tell us confidential, unless we are worried that you may be at risk of harm from yourself or from someone else.
Perhaps you feel tired at school or unable to concentrate. You may problems getting to and staying at school or getting homework done on time because of the extra things you have to do at home.
It’s common to feel different from your friends and like no one understands what you do. You might worry about leaving the person you care for or maybe it’s hard for you to get out and about because your mum or dad is too ill to drive. You might even face bullying and teasing because of your situation.
Your career and future
Do you feel like you have less options because you are needed at home or that you need to get a job instead to support your family? Perhaps you will choose to go to a college or get a job near where you live so you can be near to the person you care for, not because it is what you really want to do.
Remember, you are not alone. You can always talk to your school, college or work so that they are able to support you.
Are you a young carer or do you know someone who is? What’s it like? Let us know.