Who is a young carer and what the Birmingham Mental Health Carer Support Service can do to help.

Who is a young carer?


Young carers are children or a young people under 18 years of age whose lives are in some way affected because they need to take responsibility for a member of their family who is ill, disabled or has mental health needs. Young carers are children or young people who provide various degrees of support sometimes practically and/or emotionally to a family member within their own household, this is normally a parent, grandparent, brother or sister or another relative. These responsibilities or tasks would normally be carried out by an adult, and there are many young people that provide support to a member of their family who sometimes are unable to undertake these tasks or responsibilities themselves.

Some of the things young people do in their caring role.



A young carer may spend time undertaking tasks like cooking, cleaning and shopping. They may also assist with general housework and help with washing laundry, and preparing food. Some young carers may help their brothers or sisters to get dressed and assist with their siblings school work. Young carers may keep an eye on their younger siblings, which may prevent them doing the things that they want to do, such as going out with friends after school, attending after school clubs, or doing the things that they want to do.



Some young people or carers may attend appointments with their family members and interpret for them if English is not their first language, or help with communication if their relative struggles to communicate due to another reason, such as a physical impairment or difficulty.



Some young carers may not do any of the things above but the young person may worry about the person they care for, and may regularly provide a listening ear, and stay with the family member that they are looking after.



Because of doing these things young carers can sometimes feel tired because of their tasks or responsibilities, and may not always be able to concentrate on school, or their homework. Young carers may feel worried, and stressed, which may sometimes affect their school life. Some young people may feel angry or may go through a great deal of emotions because of their caring role, and may not know what to do. Young people may feel they can not socialise with their friends, or go out like everyone else, and some young carers may not invite friends to their home because they may feel worried about what their peers may think.


There are LOTS of other things that “young carers” do so if you’re unsure please give us a call on our information and referral line on 0121 380 4949.

What do we do to help?



Sometimes young carers miss out on important things like school, sports, hobbies and socialising because they’re so busy helping out or they are worried about their parent or family member. That is where Stonham Young Carers comes in! We want to make sure that you are able to enjoy being young, and achieve the things that you want to.



One to One Support



We offer help and support with problems that you might have. If you are having problems at home or school or you just want someone to talk to, you can spend time with someone who understands your situation and who will listen to you.



Our aim is…



We understand that your responsibilities may not stop, but we will aim to help you have fun, to take a break, and help guide you towards the goals and things that you want to do, to help you get there.  Maybe it is to help you find a way of organising yourself with the things that you need to do, and those things you want to do, or to give you information and support so that you know that there is stuff out there, and that you are not alone.



To reduce caring responsibilities where possible and support young carers where the caring role is ongoing. We may try to involve other support services in doing this.



How it all works


Someone refers you to us, We visit you at home, We ask you questions about how you help out at home, We have a meeting where we decide what we can offer you, We send you a letter telling you what we can do to help.



Referrals can be made by any agency identifying a young mental health carers who requires information or support. Referring agencies may include GPs and primary care staff, mental health services, community and voluntary organisations and schools and other services for young people.



If you want to make an application to the Birmingham Mental Health Carers Support Service please complete an application form on our referrals page. If you need help and support to complete our referral form, then please contact our information and referral line on 0121 380 4949 and a member of our gateway team will be able to help you complete the application form with you over the phone.


Three core elements of support

  • Universal Information – Provision of high quality information and advice for young carers.
  • One to One Support – Development of person centred support plan working towards positive outcomes for young carers of people with mental health needs.
  • Support Clubs – Enabling young carers to develop themselves through young carers groups, after school clubs, and activity centers. All young carers groups are based within organisational settings, such as youth centres, schools, and other official settings, facilated by professionals, such as teachers, health staff, and other professionals.