Being A Young Carer

There are thousands of young carers in the UK. Find out what it means to be a young carer and get advice on dealing with it...

You don't need to feel guilty for wanting time to yourself

What is it?

If you look after a parent or other relative who is ill, physically or mentally disabled, or addicted to drugs or alcohol, then you could be a young carer.

I'm not sure I count as a carer

Whether you provide round-the-clock care to a single parent with severe mental illness or do just a few hours a week, you're still a carer.

I feel isolated

You're not alone. A BBC survey in 2012 estimated that there are 700,000 young carers in the UK. Many young carers also feel tired, angry, guilty or stressed.

What can I do?

Remember that:

  • It's OK to feel annoyed sometimes - you didn't ask to become a carer.
  • It's fine to say 'no' sometimes.
  • You don't need to feel guilty for wanting time to yourself, or to spend it with your friends.
  • It's a good idea to put aside time every day for vegging in front of the telly, doing a sport or anything else that's just for you, because you want to.
  • You can join a Young Carers Project and get support.

It's good to talk. If you're finding it hard to cope, chat to an adult you trust or contact the Young Carers Project, or one of the helplines or websites listed on our helplines page.

BBC Advice factfiles are here to help young people with a broad range of issues. They're based on advice from medical professionals, government bodies, charities and other relevant groups. Follow the links for more advice from these organisations.

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