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To Sam

Am I a young carer

i never really felt comfortable with the lable young carer but my mum and school says i‘m one. I hardly look after my brother like i some get my brothers frame and wheelchair in and out the car and get him stuff from upstairs but thats not really caring for him thats just normal sibling stuff. I think i may have been one in the past when my brother had regressed a lot and had seizures but now he hasnt had a seizure in 3 months and acts like a ‘normal’ 18 year old. i hardly even do the mobility equipment for him anymore because we haven’t been going out in the car much but i did a lot in the summer. none of the information on young carer websites and nhs about young carers are helping answer if i still am one.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Being a young carer is when someone under 18 looks after someone because they’re sick or have a disability or mental health issue. It may also happen because a family member has an alcohol or drug problem. It’s up to you if you want to use that label for yourself or not. Some people don’t like to have labels, and that’s okay.

When someone’s a young carer, they might do things to help around the house, such as cooking or cleaning. If your family member is unable to do more personal things themselves like going to the bathroom or cleaning themselves then it might involve doing this too. A person can also be a young carer even if there are others who also look after them.

The amount of care someone needs can vary from time to time but they will still need to be looked after. It’s important the person cared for is supported with their health, safety and day-to-day well-being.

But you also need to make sure you look after yourself too. Some people like having a label such as young carer because it can help them get support or help others better understand their situation. If you’re supporting a family member with a mental health issue or disability, you still need to take time to take care of yourself too. If you feel overwhelmed or stressed, the Coping Kit may help. Childline also has advice for asking an adult for help if you need more support.

You’re right that generally helping and doing chores is something that most families do. Helping around the house and being kind to siblings is usually expected, but it’s also important to recognise when you’re giving someone extra help.

Sometimes people don’t like being called a young carer as they don’t want themselves or the person they’re caring for to be treated in a mean way, bullied, or viewed negatively. If this were to happen then it’s important to remember it’s wrong and there are people who can help to make this stop.

Whether you do or don’t use a label for your role in caring for your sibling, you’ve not done anything wrong, and your situation doesn’t define you. If you want to talk to Childline more about this, you can talk to a Childline counsellor online or on the phone. You can also speak to other young people on the Childline message boards.

Take care,


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