Young carers

You may be among the estimated hundreds of thousands of young carers in the UK – girls and boys under 18 who look after members of their family who are ill, disabled, have mental health problems or are misusing drugs or alcohol.

You may be doing the family’s cooking, shopping or cleaning, or providing personal or nursing care to your parents or siblings; and you will probably be having to provide lots of emotional support as well.

However much you love your family, being a young carer can be hard. It takes time and energy at a time when you have lots of other things to cope with, and your relatives in need may not always be the easiest people to deal with. It’s important that you have someone to talk to and to share any concerns with. Make sure you look after yourself as well as you can, and make sure you get all the help you can from:

  • your local authority who are now required by law to carry out a young carers needs assessment, if requested (find your local authority here)
  • teachers and support staff at school who can help if you are struggling to juggle your schoolwork with your responsibilities at home. You might worry about telling your school but it is important that they understand your personal circumstances
  • your local carers’ support centre or project – try searching here  or here
  • online resources such as Childline (who are also available by phone 24 hours a day if you need to talk – 0800 1111)

You may find that some people at school or college might become jealous because they think you are receiving ‘special treatment’ as a young carer. You might hear nasty comments or even be bullied. To help you cope with this sort of behaviour, have a look at our pages on:

Friends (and non-friends)
Think about your future
Coping with everyday school life

You might also be interested in our other pages on families:

Good relationships with families of all kinds

and our pages on rights to healthcare and social security:

Your rights to healthcare and social security

and our pages on mental health and wellbeing:

Looking after your mind
Look after your mind