About This Website
This website and the book ‘Guidebook for Young Carers’ were designed to provide advice for young carers. They were created by an adult called Mike, who is now a married man and a father, but when he was a child he was a young carer. He found being a young carer very difficult and experienced a range of emotions including sadness, loneliness, frustration and anger. Therefore he would like to pass on advice to help present day young carers. He does not have any formal qualifications in child care; his opinions are based on real life experiences. He hopes you find the website and book useful...
My mother has always suffered with serious mental health problems. My father coped with my mother for many years, but then he became severely depressed and killed himself when I was 12 years old. Between the ages of I2 and 18 I provided continual care for my mother, without any help from relatives or healthcare professionals. At times this was awful. As an only child, with a very unwell parent, I became a young carer. Rather than choose to do this, I felt I had no other options. I was one of many children in the UK performing difficult caring tasks.
My mum and I lived in a run-down council house on an isolated estate, with very little money. I managed all finances, made sure we had food, supervised the upkeep of the house and tried to have as normal a life as possible. This was difficult during periods when Mum was severely unwell, which involved physically restraining her on numerous occasions when she tried to hit me, and incidents such as coming home from school to find she had smeared her poo around the kitchen sink. My relatives and the local doctor knew about the situation but did nothing other than tell me it was my responsibility to look after her. I kept my situation hidden from school friends and teachers, which I now wish I had not done.
Despite a tough childhood I have managed to get an education, serve in the army, work abroad, start my own business, get married and become a dad. If I can succeed in life then so can you.