Supporting a parent, brother or sister with a mental illness can be difficult and overwhelming for young carers. It is important that young carers have access to the emotional and practical advice that can support them and help them to look after themselves.
As young carers, everyday activities such as school and socialising with friends may be disrupted. Sharing your experiences with and talking to other young people in similar situations can be helpful. There are local organisations that you can contact who can provide support, advice and even activities that you can take part in.
Useful websites include:
YCnet is an online support service for young people aged 18 and under who look after a family member who has a mental illness or disability. The site offers a safe environment for young carers to share their experiences and stories with others in a similar situation. There is also information on different mental illnesses, and advice on different subjects such as school and how to support your family member, and how to stay well yourself. The site offers many interactive features such as a blog, forums and agony aunt service.
Young Carers in Focus, Rethink Mental Illness and The Children’s Society are working together on the Young Carers in Focus project. This project gives young carers the opportunity to get involved in projects with other young carers in their local areas. It aims to give young carers a voice and train and work with 200 young carer champions across the country.
There is also a social networking site Makewaves,where you can share stories, blog and keep up to date with local activities and events taking place.
As well as information aimed at young people, Young Minds provides information for parents who may have or know a child who is caring for an adult. This webpage provides information on accessing help and support for young carers.
This NHS website provides information and advice on being a young carer, who can help you, and what your rights are. There is also advice on how to keep well and active within your own life.
The Children’s Society Young Carers Initiative and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers have produced a leaflet aimed at professionals in education and healthcare. This leaflet -‘Emotional support for young carers’ can be accessed here
Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) – Young Carers Leaflet
SCIE have also produced a leaflet for young people up to 18 years of age, which covers topics such as ‘top tips’ for young people, and ‘what causes mental illness?’
Other websites that you may find useful:
Caring Alone – Bringing Carers together
Caring Alone offers an online support service for carers from ages 16 – 30 years. The site offers a chance to socialise and chat to other carers, as well as receive help and information.
Action for children – Supporting young carers
Action for Children provides practical and emotional support. They provide advice and information, needs assessments for young carers, and opportunities to take part in activities
There are a number of stories from young carers available on the Carers Trust website
Support in mind Scotland
It’s about you too! A guide for children who have a parent with a mental illness.
This booklet was produced for 8 to 10 year olds who have a parent with a mental illness, by Support in Mind Scotland. The booklet explains what mental illness is and how to talk about it.
Need to know, A guide for young people who have a parent with mental illness.
This booklet was designed for young people aged 11 -14 and gives information on mental illness and what it is like living with a family member who’s got it.