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Being a young carer

Who can help?

If caring is affecting your health, your feelings or your school work, you should ask your doctor or your local authority for more help in your home.

If you need to talk or get support for yourself while caring, there are projects around the country that offer help and information to young carers. The projects are a place for young carers to have fun and relax. Young carers who don’t know where their nearest young carers project is can ask their nearest centre for adult carers, or search our directory of local carers' services.

Friends and family

Talking to a friend or a relative about any problems can be helpful. People who find it hard to talk to others often write their thoughts in a diary, poem or letter first. You can also chat with one another on the YC Net website and get lots of advice and support from other young people.

Teachers and other school staff

Teachers are there to help pupils get the most out of school. They can be a good person for you to speak to about any problems you have.

If you're getting angry in school, missing lessons to help look after someone at home, or struggling to get your work in on time, you might benefit from talking to a teacher.

Some schools run clubs for young carers and provide information for them. There's sometimes a lead teacher who's responsible for young carers in school.

If you're having trouble attending school, you may be contacted by education welfare officers (EWOs). The EWO's job is to find out what’s stopping you from getting to school, and what would help you go more often.

Social workers

A social worker’s job is to support and help a family that might be having difficulties. A social worker only finds a new home for a child if the child is in danger at home and there's no other way of keeping them safe. Social workers may be asked to help a young carer’s family if there are problems that the family members are finding hard to sort out on their own.

If you feel you need help staying healthy and taking part in school and social activities, you might be able to get help. In some cases, support workers can help you with your education and health.

Healthcare professionals

If you have concerns about your own health, or the health of the person you care for, you can speak to a doctor or GP in a safe and confidential environment.

School nurses visit schools and are normally happy to speak to young people about any of their other concerns they might have.

Counsellors work in a variety of places, including schools, hospitals and youth centres. A counsellor’s job is to listen carefully and give advice in a private setting.

Community psychiatric nurses work in the community and offer emotional support and advice about mental health conditions. If your parent has a community psychiatric nurse, you can talk to the nurse about your parent’s illness and how you can help your parent cope with the illness.

If you're worried about your own mental health, you can speak to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health service. There are services all over the country, giving support to young people with mental health conditions.

Macmillan nurses from the national charity Macmillan Cancer Support can help people who are affected by cancer. They provide a range of medical and emotional support for people who have cancer, and their families.

Assessments

If you're a young carer and are under 16, you can ask social services for a carer’s assessment whenever the person you're looking after is having an assessment of their own.

If you're a young carer aged 16 or over, you can ask social services for a carer’s assessment whenever you like.

Youth workers and youth advice services

Often, adults who work with young people are employed by a local youth service or independent charity. They offer a range of services, from one-on-one support to clubs and activities. To find a young person's advice service in your area, type "youth advice" and your nearest town into a search engine such as Google or Bing.

There is a range of organisations that provide advice and information on issues such as benefits, money, education, relationships, drugs, health and housing.

The Citizens Advice Bureau provides comprehensive information on money, benefits and your rights. You can read its information online and use the website to find your nearest centre. Careers Information and Advice for Young People has a helpline, webchat and email service about education and careers for 13 to 19 year olds. Support is also available up to the age of 25 for those who have learning difficulties or disabilities.

You may find it useful to talk to someone confidentially. Helplines are a good way of doing this. ChildLine has a confidential listening service for children and young people. Call 0800 1111.

You can also watch the video below to find out how other young carers cope with school and how they chill out.

Online support

There are lots of places that young carers, and their families, can go to get help. The Care and support website is just one of many reliable sources that you can trust to give you good information. Other useful, reliable and trustworthy websites include:

YC Net is an online community and support service for children and young people across the UK who are young carers. It offers young carers one-to-one support sessions with online youth workers, web chats, blogs, email support, agony aunts and Q&A sessions with experts that can help young carers.

Barnardo’s is a charity that provides support to young carers.

Action for Children is a charity that provides support to young carers.

Saul Becker has a website that has some of the most comprehensive research about young carers and young carers issues on it.

The National Careers Service has a helpline, webchat and email service about education and careers for 13 to 19 year olds. Support is also available up to the age of 25 for those who have learning difficulties or disabilities.

Young carers

Two young carers talk about splitting their time between going to school and caring for their parents, and the support they've had from young carers projects.

Media last reviewed: 14/12/2012

Next review due: 14/12/2015

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Page last reviewed: 19/08/2013

Next review due: 19/08/2015

Call Carers Direct on 0300 123 1053

Confidential information and advice for carers.

Lines are open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays), 11am to 4pm at weekends. Request a free call back or an interpreted call back in one of more than 170 languages including ربي, বাংলা, 中文, Français, ગુજરાતી, Polski, Português, ਪੰਜਾਬੀ, Soomaali, Español, Türkçe and .اردو.

You can talk to an adviser live online or send a query by email.

Find out more about the Carers Direct helpline.

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Carers' assessments

Find out if you qualify for support from social services through a carer's assessment