Who is a young carer?
A young carer is someone aged under 18 who looks after person. This could include an adult, or someone younger like a sibling.
Caring for someone might involve things you do every day like cooking and cleaning,. or you might have to do much more if the person can't do some things themselves. For some, it can involve a lot of physical tasks, for other people can mean providing emotional support.
There are lots of reasons you may care for another person, for example someone might:
- have an illness, disability or mental health condition
- need extra support because of their age
- difficulties relating to drugs and alcohol
- need help communicating or talking to others, for example signing or translating for health appointments
- have additional needs, or learning differences.
Some young people tell us they aren't sure if they can actually call themselves a 'young carer'. Even if you aren't the only one who’s caring for someone, you are still a young carer. Especially if it takes up a lot of your day or impacts how much time you have for your schoolwork or yourself.
Getting support if you’re a young carer
It can sometimes be hard to talk to your friends or other people about your situation. You might be embarrassed or feel like they wouldn't understand. You might be worried about whether you’re allowed to ask for support, or if you’d be letting anyone down.
It’s always okay to ask for help when you’re caring for someone. Even when you’re managing on your own, getting a little help can make things easier for everyone and help you to feel less alone. You’re never letting anyone down by talking about it.
Making time for yourself
Being a young carer can take up a lot of your day and mean you don’t have much time to yourself.
It's important you find the time to get on with schoolwork, meeting up with friends and have time do to things that make you feel good.
Finding things hard as a young carer
Young carers say there are often a number of positive things about being a young carer. You might feel closer as a family, and young carers are often more mature and have other skills that their friends might not have. But we know there are lots of reasons why you might be finding things hard if you are a young carer.
You might be worried about:
- the health of the person you care for
- your school work or exams
- money, finding a job or your future
- not being able to meet and go out with friends
- feeling you don't have any other choice
- being hurt or feeling unsafe at home
- having to look after brothers or sisters.
And if you can't see your friends as much as you'd like, you might feel lonely and isolated.
However you feel, you can talk to us. We can help to talk your options through.