Who are Young Carers?
Young carers are children and young people under the age of 18 who help care for a member of their family who has either a physical disability, learning disability, mental ill health or struggle with alcohol or drug addiction. Young carers can be caring for their mum, dad a brother or sister or another family member. Some young carers are looking after more than one person. Some young carers are not always may have other people in their family helping out as well, or they may be doing it all on your own.
There are lots of young people throughout the Highlands who are doing some caring for a family member who might not manage without their help.
If you are a young carer you could be
- Helping someone to wash, dress, eat and take their medicine
- Helping by doing the cooking, cleaning and shopping
- Looking after your brothers and sisters if your parent isn’t well
- Helping the person you care for get out and about, go to doctor’s appointments, see friends
- Listening and talking to them when they are worried or not well
Lots of young carers are very proud of the important role they play looking after someone they love but it can also be difficult caring for someone and juggling your school work, friends and time for yourself.
You are not the only one. Some young carers think they might the only one.
What do we mean by a sibling carer?
A sibling carer is a young person who helps to care for and support a brother or sister who either has a disability, long term illness or another additional support need.
A sibling carer will help a parent to look after a brother or sister who would not manage without that extra help. You could be helping with feeding, washing and dressing, keeping a brother or sister safe and calm, helping them communicate or helping them to get out and about and have fun.
“I love helping my mum look after my sister, I would do it anyway whether you called me a young carer or not”
What do we mean by hidden young carers?
Many young people caring for a family member who experiences mental ill health or issues with substance misuse can often go unrecognised. A lot of the caring can go unrecognised and be hidden, yet more and more young carers and families are coming forward and asking for help. Young carers caring for a parent with mental illness or a drug and alcohol issue are often
- Taking on very grown up roles at home.
- Look after younger brothers and sisters
- Provide lots of emotional support.
- Responsible for lots of household tasks.
“My dad’s mood can be up and down, I always make sure he takes his pills but sometimes I don’t know what I’m coming home to”
Remember all young people have chores at home but young carers are taking on more responsibility than other children and young people.