Your own mental health and well-being is very important as a young carer

Teenage boy in kitchen with head in hand

Everyone can suffer from poor well-being and mental health; in fact, 1 in 4 people will suffer from mental ill health at some point in their lives, so it is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Sometimes young carers can face extra pressures and struggle to look after themselves, but it is important to take the time to look after your own well-being. There is information and help out there to make sure that you have emotional support and mental health and well-being support.

Information and support

Below are some tools and organisations for further information and support to help you care for yourself:

Looking after myself:

Looking after myself: Young people’s wellness plan - This booklet will help you think about and develop some useful ways of coping. It can remind you where to go when things aren’t going so well and realise it is okay to ask for help or well-being support for yourself. It helps you to explore your caring role and what you feel is good and not so good about it.

The title ‘Looking after myself’ is not about being self-centred or uncaring. It simply means that you are allowed and have the right to take care of yourself and recognise the pressures that you can face as a young carer.

It can take time to put a plan like this together, and it might help you to do this with someone you feel is able to support you (this could be a project worker, teacher family member, friend). You can also add to, or adapt this plan at any time in the future.

Young and caring:

Young and caring: Accessing support - This resource helps you make sure that you get the practical and emotional support you need. It supports you to think about who else can help you deal with the challenges you face – the answer to this will be different for everyone, so we have developed some tools you could use to work things out for you.

Young and Caring - Caring for Someone with a Mental Illness - This guide is to help make sense of caring for someone with a mental illness. Do you care for someone who has a mental illness? Is it all quite new to you?  This leaflet is to help you make sense of things and to get the help you need. We have also asked other young carers about their own experiences, what helped them and, perhaps, you so that you have the mental health support you need too.

Useful websites:

  • Rethink Mental Illness - Rethink aims to improve the quality of life for everyone who is affected by a mental health problem. They offer information on living with mental illness and provide support in a range of ways.
  • Rethink Siblings - This site provides information and support for you if you have a brother or sister that has experienced, or is living with, severe mental illness.
  • YoungMinds - YoungMinds website offers information and advice to you about mental health and emotional well-being.

Looking after your emotional well-being and mental health

This video was created by other young carers at a residential weekend and gives you some resources to support positive wellbeing, and advice about how to look after yourself. 

Who can you talk to?

If you are worried about your mental health and well-being you should talk to someone. A teacher may be able to put you in touch with counsellor, and you should go and talk to your doctor to see what they can do. There are also a range of helplines and online support that you can access if you want to talk to someone:

  • SANELINE - 0854 767 8000 - A local helpline for anyone concerned about their own mental health or that of a friend or family member, open 12 noon - 2am every day of the year.
  • Samaritans - 08457 90 90 90 - Ring them for someone to talk to at any time, 7 days a week.
  • Kooth - Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people.
  • The Mix - A free, confidential telephone and email helpline finding you the best help whatever the problem. Provides free connections to local or national services, and can text information to your mobile phone.