Young carers

Looking after a member of your family who can't care for themselves can be difficult. Even if you're only doing it some of the time. But you don't have to face it alone. Find advice about making things easier and ways to help you cope.

what Is a young carer?

A young carer is someone who looks after another person. Caring for someone might involve things you do every day like cooking and cleaning. Or you might have to do much more if your family member can't do some things themselves.

A young carer might look after someone because they're sick, or have a disability or mental health issues. Or, if a parent or family member has an alcohol or drug problem, they may be unable to care for themselves or anyone else.

Some young people tell us they aren't sure if they can actually call themselves a 'young carer'. But even if you aren't the only one who is doing the looking after, you can be a young carer. Especially if you're doing a lot more than just helping out occasionally and it takes up a lot of your time.

It's never your fault if someone is having problems and you have to look after them.

5 things to remember:

  • it's okay to ask for help
  • there are support groups available
  • you can ask a teacher to get help with schoolwork
  • it's not okay to be bullied about being a carer
  • we're here if you ever need to talk.

finding things difficult as a young carer

There are lots of reasons why you might be finding things hard if you are a young carer. You might be worried about:

It can be really hard if you feel like you're not in control of your life. It can make you feel angry or sad and depressed.

And if you can't see your friends as much as you'd like, you can feel lonely and isolated.

However you feel, you can talk to us. We can help to talk your options through.

Fighting with your parents?

they tease
for being

Talk to us

being bullied?

If you're a young carer, it can feel like you have to grow up much quicker than other people your age. You might be bullied too. Bullying is not okay. And it's never your fault.

It's also important to talk to your school if you're being bullied. Your school will have an anti-bullying policy. This means they have to do something to stop any bullying that's happening.

Find out more about bullying.

making time for you

Being a young carer can take up a lot of your time, especially if you have to look after your brothers or sisters too.

But it's important you find the time to get on with schoolwork, meeting up with friends and support groups that can help.

you're not alone

There are lots of different groups, clubs and projects just for young carers. These can be a great way to meet people similar to you, make new friends and give you time off from caring. You can find clubs and events for young carers in your area by searching online.

If you're nervous about going to a young carer club or support group, you could go once to see how it is or take a friend with you. If it's not for you, that's okay. But other people there will know what it's like to be a young carer.

getting support if you're a carer

There are lots of reasons why you might be finding things difficult if you're a young carer.

It can be hard to talk to your friends about your situation. You might feel like they wouldn't understand. Or you might be worried you'll be letting your family down if you tell people you're struggling.

Just remember, you shouldn't have to cope all on your own. And it's okay to ask for help.

Contacting social services

Social services are there to help families that are having a tough time. If you contact them, you might be asked to do an assessment with them. It may sound scary, but it's just a chat with a social worker to find out: 

  • about the difficulties you're having
  • how you care for someone else
  • how this affects you.

This is so they can find out what type of support you need. They'll help you think about your options and ways to make life a little easier for you.

If you'd prefer, you can ask if someone from social services can come to school instead of home. But you'll need to mention if you don't want them to call at your school.

You can contact social services by finding your local council. If you're not sure how to do it (or you just want to find out more about what social services might be like) you can always talk to us.