In this story: Young adult carer /

"My advice to other young carers is speak to an adult you trust to get the conversation started."

“I didn’t realise I was a young carer until my Mum saw a billboard for my local young carers support centre when I was 9. I was sure that I wasn’t a young carer, but after speaking to them I learnt that I am. At that time, I cared for my younger brother who has Autism Spectrum Disorder and ADHD, since then he also developed severe anxiety and depression. I also now care for my mum who had an accident when I was 11 that left her with a chronic pain condition in her leg.

People have the idea that a young carer only offers physical care. I think that is why it is so hard for people to recognise young carers, because of the mistaken stereotype. For my brother I’m someone to talk to who won’t judge him. I’m the person he can unload on and say when his mental health is bad. Now that I’m away at university it doesn’t mean my caring role has stopped. I’m often calling or texting my brother to offer him support with his mental health. This can sometimes impact my sleep as his mental health is worse at night. This in turn impacts my ability to pay attention in lectures and when doing assignments.

While all this sounds bad it has some benefits. Me and my brother get along quite well and often speak while I’m at university. But a major downside to my caring role is that it can be quite isolating. I feel bad talking to my friends about it as I feel like I’m being annoying, and I feel bad complaining about family. It can get overwhelming and stressful very quickly. I often find myself unable to sleep at night because of this as I’m lying awake too stressed to sleep.

My advice to other young carers is speak to an adult you trust to get the conversation started. The best way to get help is to talk openly about your caring role so people know what’s happening and they can get you the support you need and deserve.”

The 16th March 2021 is Young Carers Action Day. Find out more and have a look at resources for young carers on the Carers Trust site (this link will take you away from our website).

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