Parent sits with their arm around their child to reassure them.

Young carers

What are young carers?

A young girl speaking to her father in front of a wall with pictures hanging behind them

Being a young carer often means looking after a family member who is ill, or helping them by looking after the other members of the family while they can’t.

Young carers often do more chores than other young people. On top of providing emotional support to the person they are caring for, they may also have to learn how to nurse them or look after their personal needs like bathing and dressing.

It can be hard work being a young carer. Sometimes others might not understand your responsibilities and you have less free time than others.

Many young people cope well with caring, especially if you have support from other family members, but it’s still important to look after yourself. You have the right to be looked after too and there are lots of places and people you can go to to get help.

Getting help as a young carer

Sometimes, being a young carer can get too much to deal with on your own. Talk to your teacher, school nurse, college counsellor or GP if you're having any of these feelings:

  • feeling stressed by too much responsibility
  • feeling physically tired
  • feeling worried about your relative’s health
  • struggling to cope with other people’s mood
  • having no time for yourself or your homework
  • missing school
  • feeling embarrassed about your situation
  • being bullied
  • experiencing low self-esteem, anxiety, anger or guilt

You are not alone

You’re not alone if you experience any of these feelings. Young carers miss an average of 48 days of school because of their role and 68% have been bullied at some point directly because of having to care for someone. Organisations set up to help young carers recognise all of these problems and have people and strategies to support you.

Even if you don’t feel like you need help for a problem, it is always good to have the support of others who understand your situation. Young carers groups run all around the UK to help with advice as well as giving you somewhere to let off steam and enjoy yourself.

Don’t sacrifice your own mental health for somebody else’s. To be able to help somebody you love, you need to be able to feel well enough in yourself to give your all to the person you are looking after.
My support workers have also helped me understand the importance of not only maintaining my physical and mental wellbeing, but also to take time for me.

Where to get help

See below for a list of organisations and helpline services that have information to support you.

  • Carers UK

    Offers support to carers across the UK.

    Runs an online forum for carers to get advice and share their experiences and feelings.

    Opening times:
    9am - 6pm, Monday - Friday
  • Youth Access

    Provides information about local counselling and advice services for young people aged 11-25.

    Put in your location and what you need help with into their 'Find help' search, and see what services are available in your area.

Whether you love the page or think something is missing, we appreciate your feedback. It all helps us to support more young people with their mental health.

Please be aware that this form isn’t a mental health support service. If you are in crisis right now and want to talk to someone urgently, find out who to contact on our urgent help page.

All fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required to submit this form.
Please copy and paste the page link here.
Please do not include personal details. This is not a mental health support service and you will not receive a reply.

Please note:

This form is not a mental health support service. We cannot reply to this. If you are at risk of immediate harm, call 999 and ask for an ambulance or go to your nearest A&E. If you are worried about your mental health, call: Childline (for under 19s) on 0800 11 11; or Samaritans on 116 123.

At YoungMinds we take your privacy seriously. If you’d like to read more about how we keep the information we collect safe, take a look at our privacy policy.