Young Carers - being a young carer

Being a Young Carer

I’m not sure if I’m a young carer?

Sometimes it can be difficult to decide if whether what you do means you are a carer or you are simply helping out. This can be made even more difficult if your parents, or the person you are caring for, don’t want to recognise what you are doing. If this is the case, it may be because they feel guilty or worried about what you are doing because you are so young.

You are likely to be a young carer if you find yourself carrying out any of the tasks below on a regular basis-

  • Taking care of household chores such as shopping and cleaning
  • Managing the household such as sorting bills
  • Keeping track of and administering medication
  • Looking after your brothers or sisters
  • Providing emotional support such as helping the person you care for manage their moods
  • Helping to wash and dress the person you care for

If you are under the age of 18 and look after a family member or friend who cannot manage on their own, then you are a young carer.

You don’t need to be providing personal care or physical support to be a young carer. It may be that someone depends on you emotionally as a result of mental illness, drugs or alcohol.

It can be difficult to manage school and friends when you are a young carer. You may fall behind with your school work or feel your friends don't understand you any more. This section has information and advice that can help. 

Support for Young Carers

Support for young carers

The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. It is thought that there are 175,000 young carers across the UK. Did you know that in Fife alone there are an estimated 4000 young carers?! That is a lot of children and teenagers who are in a caring role, many of whom may be in a similar position to you.

As a carer, you are likely to have many more responsibilities than other young people. These responsibilities, and the worries that go along with them, can get in the way of you being able to enjoy your life and to keep up with school work.   It can be hard to admit to other people that you are a carer as you may feel that people just won’t understand. However, if you are struggling with school work or in any other way then it can be helpful to let a teacher or guidance teacher or other trusted adult know. If they are aware of what you are dealing with then they will be better able to support you.

The links on the right provide advice about being a young carer. But also check out all of the pages in the MoodCafe carers section for general information and advice on support for carers.

If you live in Fife  - see Fife Young Carers

Young Carers

Care and Carers
Feeling worried, stressed or anxious