‘Disability’ has a special legal meaning under the Equality Act, which is broader than the usual way you might understand the word. Even if you don’t think you have a disability, the Equality Act may protect you from discrimination if your mental health problem fits its definition of disability.
The Equality Act says you have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial, adverse, and long-term effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
The focus is on the effect of your mental health problem, rather than the diagnosis. So you need to show that your mental health problem:
has more than a small effect on your everyday life
makes things more difficult for you, and
has lasted at least 12 months, is likely to last 12 months, or (if your mental health problem has improved) that it is likely to recur.
Examples of ‘substantial adverse effect’
Simon has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). He has to check and recheck whether lights are switched off and doors are locked. This can make him late for work or other appointments. His obsessive thoughts often distract him from activities that he is doing and disrupt his daily routines. His mental health problem therefore has a substantial adverse effect on the way he does things.
Examples of ‘long term’
Jenny has had depression for 10 months and the doctor says it will be likely to last at least another 4 to 5 months.
Selina has bipolar affective disorder. She had her first and second episode in January 2013, then a third episode in January 2014. Even though there was a gap between her second and third episode, her mental health problem is considered to have continued over the whole period (in this case, a period of 13 months).
What if I’m getting medication or treatment for my mental health problem?
If you are getting some treatment or taking medication for your condition, you ignore the effect of your treatment when deciding whether your condition is having a substantial, adverse effect on your daily activities. This means the law is looking at how your condition affects you without your treatment or medication.
Mohammed has long-term anxiety and is being treated by counselling. Anxiety would normally make him find simple tasks difficult. Because he has counselling, he is able to get up and go to work.
The Equality Act says you have to ignore his treatment in deciding whether his mental health problem has a substantial adverse effect on his day-to-day activities and so he has a disability.
What if I had a disability in the past?
You are still protected from discrimination if you had a disability in the past. That means that if your past mental health problem had a substantial, long-term and adverse effect, you will get the protection of the Equality Act.
Four years ago, Mary had depression that lasted 2 years and had a substantial effect on her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. She has not experienced depression since then.
If Mary is treated worse by her employer because of her past mental health problem, she will be protected by the Equality Act.
Checklist: Is my mental health problem a disability?
You can ask yourself these questions:
Do I have a mental or physical health impairment?
Is it long-term (meaning lasting more than 12 months or likely to do so)?
Does it have a more than minor adverse effect on my day-to-day living, if I discount my treatment or medication?
If you answered “yes” to all three questions, then your mental health problem could get the protection of the Equality Act.
If you want to get the protection of the Equality Act, you may find it helpful to get some evidence from your GP, or another medical professional. You can ask them to write a letter saying whether they think you have a disability under the Equality Act. It would be particularly useful if they can give their opinion on the answer to each of these three questions.
Esra doesn’t consider herself disabled because she doesn’t receive disability benefits and she is physically healthy.
Esra has been living with an anxiety disorder for the past 3 years. Because of this, it takes her a longer time to do things like get up in the morning, dress herself for the day and do the shopping. She takes medication to control the symptoms.
Esra would be protected by the Equality Act because she has:
a mental impairment – an anxiety disorder
it is long term – she has had it for the past 3 years
it has a substantial effect on her daily life – her mental health has a major effect on her daily life when you ignore the effect of her medication
it has an adverse effect – her mental health problem makes things more difficult for her.
Around the year 2000 I started suffering Depression, Anxiety and what I remember most about it was I had no get up and go about me. (I just couldn’t be bothered). As far as the anxiety was concerned I would get up tight about things to a point where I realised I was holding my breath. ( Not a clever idea is it?)
There are two things that stick in my mind even all these years later about my depression and anxiety,
Around this time our daughter was 8/9yrs old and we decided to hire a static caravan in Northumberland here in the UK along with my parents. As my wife wasn’t sure of the way there my father said he knew how to get where we were going.
It was on the road home an anxiety issue arose because despite being told to follow my father, my wife overtook my father and I and up ahead their was a fork in the road. She should have taken the fork to the right when she took the fork to left. This meant my father and I waiting at that junction anxiously till they reappeared.
Having Depression and anxiety quite often meant I couldn’t go further than my front door. I am a uniformed Salvationist of the Salvation Army and I can even remember every Sunday for weeks on end putting my uniform on (except jacket) until it came time to go and I would come to put jacket on and I couldn’t. Nerves and anxiety got the better of me and I used to ask my wife to call the Church to say I wouldn’t be there.
The main factor that played a part in my recovery was every week my father came to see me and we didn’t just talk about my depression we had general conversations as well. I also used to get regular visits from my then pastor who used to suffer from Clinical Depression, again the discussion I had with him again were general.
There’s a saying on one of the UK’s tv channel’s says “It’s good to talk”.
Psychosis is characterized by an impaired relationship with reality. It’s a symptom of serious mental disorders. People who are experiencing psychosis may have either hallucinations or delusions.
Hallucinations are sensory experiences that occur within the absence of an actual stimulus. For example, a person having an auditory hallucination may hear their mother yelling at them when their mother isn’t around. Or someone having a visual hallucination may see something, like a person in front of them, who isn’t actually there.
The person experiencing psychosis may also have thoughts that are contrary to actual evidence. These thoughts are known as delusions. Some people with psychosis may also experience loss of motivation and social withdrawal.
These experiences can be frightening. They may also cause people who are experiencing psychosis to hurt themselves or others. It’s important to see a doctor right away if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of psychosis.
Delusions and hallucinations are two very different symptoms that are both often experienced by people with psychosis. Delusions and hallucinations seem real to the person who is experiencing them.
A delusion is a false belief or impression that is firmly held even though it’s contradicted by reality and what is commonly considered true. There are delusions of paranoia, grandiose delusions, and somatic delusions.
People who are experiencing a delusion of paranoia might think that they are being followed when they aren’t or that secret messages are being sent to them. Someone with a grandiose delusion will have an exaggerated sense of importance. Somatic delusion is when a person believes they have a terminal illness, but in reality they’re healthy.
A hallucination is a sensory perception in the absence of outside stimuli. That means seeing, hearing, feeling, or smelling something that isn’t present. A person who is hallucinating might see things that don’t exist or hear people talking when they’re alone.
Each case of psychosis is different, and the exact cause isn’t always clear. There are certain illnesses that cause psychosis, however. There are also triggers like drug use, lack of sleep, and other environmental factors. In addition, certain situations can lead to specific types of psychosis developing.
Some kinds of psychosis are brought on by specific conditions or circumstances that include the following:
Brief psychotic disorder
Brief psychotic disorder, sometimes called brief reactive psychosis, can occur during periods of extreme personal stress like the death of a family member. Someone experiencing brief reactive psychosis will generally recover in a few days to a few weeks, depending on the source of the stress.
Drug- or alcohol-related psychosis
Psychosis can be triggered by the use of alcohol or drugs, including stimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine. Hallucinogenic drugs like LSD often cause users to see things that aren’t really there, but this effect is temporary. Some prescription drugs like steroids and stimulants can also cause symptoms of psychosis.
People who have an addition to alcohol or certain drugs can experience psychotic symptoms if they suddenly stop drinking or taking those drugs.
A head injury or an illness or infection that affects the brain can cause symptoms of psychosis.
Psychotic disorders can be triggered by stress, drug or alcohol use, injury, or illness. They can also appear on their own. The following types of disorders may have psychotic symptoms:
When someone has bipolar disorder, their moods swing from very high to very low. When their mood is high and positive, they may have symptoms of psychosis. They may feel extremely good and believe they have special powers.
When their mood is depressed, the individual may have psychotic symptoms that make them feel angry, sad, or frightened. These symptoms include thinking someone is trying to harm them.
A person experiencing delusional disorder strongly believes in things that aren’t real.
Psychosis is diagnosed through a psychiatric evaluation. That means a doctor will watch the person’s behavior and ask questions about what they’re experiencing. Medical tests and X-rays may be used to determine whether there is an underlying illness causing the symptoms.
Diagnosing psychosis in children and teenagers
Many of the symptoms of psychosis in adults aren’t symptoms of psychosis in young people. For example, small children often have imaginary friends with whom they talk. This just represents imaginative play, which is completely normal for children.
But if you’re worried about psychosis in a child or adolescent, describe their behavior to a doctor.
Treating psychosis may involve a combination of medications and therapy. Most people will experience an improvement in their symptoms with treatment.
Sometimes people experiencing psychosis can become agitated and be at risk of hurting themselves or others. In these cases, it may be necessary to calm them down quickly. This method is called rapid tranquilization. A doctor or emergency response personnel will administer a fast-acting injection or liquid medicine to quickly relax the patient.
Symptoms of psychosis can be controlled with medications called antipsychotics. They reduce hallucinations and delusions and help people think more clearly. The type of antipsychotic that is prescribed will depend on the symptoms.
In many cases, people only need to take antipsychotics for a short time to get their symptoms under control. People with schizophrenia may have to stay on medications for life.
Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy means meeting regularly to talk with a mental health counselor with the goal of changing thinking and behaviors. This approach has been shown to be effective in helping people make permanent changes and better manage their illness. It’s often most helpful for psychotic symptoms that don’t completely resolve with medications.
Psychosis doesn’t have many medical complications. However, if left untreated, it can be challenging for people experiencing psychosis to take good care of themselves. That could cause other illnesses to go untreated.
Most people who experience psychosis will recover with proper treatment. Even in severe cases, medication and therapy can help.
Stress can be defined as the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of pressures that are unmanageable.
What is stress?
At the most basic level, stress is our body’s response to pressures from a situation or life event. What contributes to stress can vary hugely from person to person and differs according to our social and economic circumstances, the environment we live in and our genetic makeup. Some common features of things that can make us feel stress include experiencing something new or unexpected, something that threatens your feeling of self, or feeling you have little control over a situation.1
When we encounter stress, our body is stimulated to produce stress hormones that trigger a ‘flight or fight’ response and activate our immune system 2. This response helps us to respond quickly to dangerous situations.
Sometimes, this stress response can be an appropriate, or even beneficial reaction. The resulting feeling of ‘pressure’ can help us to push through situations that can be nerve-wracking or intense, like running a marathon, or giving a speech to a large crowd. We can quickly return to a resting state without any negative effects on our health if what is stressing us is short-lived 3, and many people are able to deal with a certain level of stress without any lasting effects.
However, there can be times when stress becomes excessive and too much to deal with. If our stress response is activated repeatedly, or it persists over time, the effects can result in wear and tear on the body and can cause us to feel permanently in a state of ‘fight or flight’ . Rather than helping us push through, this pressure can make us feel overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Feeling this overwhelming stress for a long period of time is often called chronic, or long-term stress, and it can impact on both physical and mental health.
Stress is a response to a threat in a situation, whereas anxiety is a reaction to the stress.
What makes us stressed?
There are many things that can lead to stress. The death of a loved one, divorce/separation, losing a job and unexpected money problems are among the top ten causes of stress according to one recent survey 5. But not all life events are negative and even positive life changes, such as moving to a bigger house, gaining a job promotion or going on holiday can be sources of stress.
What are the signs of stress?
When you are stressed you may experience many different feelings, including anxiety, fear, anger, sadness, or frustration. These feelings can sometimes feed on each other and produce physical symptoms, making you feel even worse. For some people, stressful life events can contribute to symptoms of depression.6 7
Work-related stress can also have negative impacts on mental health 8. Work-related stress accounts for an average of 23.9 days of work lost for every person affected 9.
When you are stressed you may behave differently. For example, you may become withdrawn, indecisive or inflexible. You may not be able to sleep properly 10. You may be irritable or tearful. There may be a change in your sexual habits 11.Some people may resort to smoking, consuming more alcohol, or taking drugs 12. Stress can make you feel angrier or more aggressive than normal 13. Stress may also affect the way we interact with our close family and friends.
When stressed, some people start to experience headaches, nausea and indigestion. You may breathe more quickly, perspire more, have palpitations or suffer from various aches and pains. You will quickly return to normal without any negative effects if what is stressing you is short-lived, and many people are able to deal with a certain level of stress without any lasting adverse effects.
If you experience stress repeatedly over a prolonged period, you may notice your sleep and memory are affected, your eating habits may change, or you may feel less inclined to exercise.
Some research has also linked long-term stress to gastrointestinal conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), or stomach ulcers14 as well as conditions like cardiovascular disease15.
Who is affected by stress?
All of us can probably recognise at least some of the feelings described above and may have felt stressed and overwhelmed at some time or another. Some people seem to be more affected by stress than others. For some people, getting out of the door on time each morning can be a very stressful experience. Whereas others may be able to cope with a great deal of pressure.
Some groups of people may be more likely to experience stressful life events and situations than others. For example, people living with high levels of debt, or financial insecurity are more likely to experience stress related to money16, 17, people from minority ethnic groups or whose who are LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) may be more likely to experience stress due to prejudice, or discrimination18,19,20, and people with pre-existing or ongoing health problems may be more likely to experience stress related to their health, or stress due to stigma associated with their condition.
How can you help yourself?
There are some actions that you can take as an individual to manage the immediate, sometimes unpleasant, signs of stress and identify, reduce, and remove stressful factors that may cause you to feel overwhelmed and unable to cope. If you feel comfortable, talking to a friend or close colleague at work about your feelings can help you manage your stress.
However, sometimes individual actions on their own are not enough to reduce long-term stress for everyone. We can often be affected by factors that are beyond our direct control. Communities, workplaces, societies, and governments all have a role to play in tackling these wider causes of stress.
1. Realise when it is causing a problem and identify the causes
An important step in tackling stress is to realise when it is a problem for you and make a connection between the physical and emotional signs you are experiencing and the pressures you are faced with. It is important not to ignore physical warning signs such as tense muscles, feeling over-tired, and experiencing headaches or migraines.
Once you have recognised you are experiencing stress, try to identify the underlying causes. Sort the possible reasons for your stress into those with a practical solution, those that will get better anyway given time, and those you can’t do anything about. Take control by taking small steps towards the things you can improve.
Think about a plan to address the things that you can. This might involve setting yourself realistic expectations and prioritising essential commitments. If you feel overwhelmed, ask people to help with the tasks you have to do and say no to things that you cannot take on.
2. Review your lifestyle
Are you taking on too much? Are there things you are doing which could be handed over to someone else? Can you do things in a more leisurely way? You may need to prioritise things you are trying to achieve and reorganise your life so that you are not trying to do everything at once.
3. Build supportive relationships
Finding close friends or family who can offer help and practical advice can support you in managing stress. Joining a club, enrolling on a course, or volunteering can all be good ways of expanding your social networks and encourage you to do something different. Equally, activities like volunteering can change your perspective and helping others can have a beneficial impact on your mood.
4. Eat Healthily
A healthy diet will reduce the risk of diet-related diseases. There is also a growing amount of evidence showing how food can affect our mood. Feelings of wellbeing can be protected by ensuring our diet provides adequate amounts of nutrients including essential vitamins and minerals, as well as water.
5. Be aware of your smoking and drinking
If possible, try to cut right down on smoking and drinking. They may seem to reduce tension, but in fact they can make problems worse. Alcohol and caffeine can increase feelings of anxiety.
Physical exercise can be an excellent initial approach to managing the effects of stress. Walking, and other physical activities can provide a natural ‘mood boost’ through the production of endorphins. Even a little bit of physical activity can make a difference, for example, walking for 15-20 minutes three times a week is a great start.21
7. Take Time Out
One of the ways you can reduce stress is by taking time to relax and practicing self-care, where you do positive things for yourself. Striking a balance between responsibility to others and responsibility to yourself is vital in reducing stress levels.
8. Be Mindful
Mindfulness meditation can be practiced anywhere at any time. Research has suggested it can be helpful for managing and reducing the effect of stress, anxiety, and other related problems in some people22. Our ‘Be Mindful’ website features a specifically-developed online course in mindfulness, and details of local courses in your area.
9. Get some restful sleep
Sleep problems are common when you’re experiencing stress. If you are having difficulty sleeping, you can try to reduce the amount of caffeine you consume23 and avoid too much screen time before bed24. Writing down your to do list for the next day can be useful in helping you prioritise but also put the plans aside before bed25. For more tips on getting a good night’s sleep read our guide ‘How to sleep better’.
10. Don’t be too hard on yourself
Try to keep things in perspective and don’t be too hard on yourself. Look for things in your life that are positive and write down things that make you feel grateful.
If you continue to feel overwhelmed by stress, seeking professional help can support you in managing effectively. Do not be afraid to seek professional help if you feel that you are no longer able to manage things on your own. Many people feel reluctant to seek help as they feel that it is an admission of failure. This is not the case and it is important to get help as soon as possible so you can begin to feel better.
The first person to approach is your family doctor. He or she should be able to advise about treatment and may refer you to another local professional. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been shown to be helpful in reducing stress by changing the ways we think about stressful situations26, this might include focusing on more positive aspects of a situation and reassessing what their likely impact might be. Other psychosocial interventions that can be helpful include brief interpersonal counselling, which can give people the opportunity to discuss what causes them to feel stress and develop coping strategies; and mindfulness-based approaches27.
People with anorexia nervosa don’t eat enough, usually because they feel that their problems are caused by what they look like.
Anorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder characterised by restrictive eating and an intense fear of gaining weight. While anorexia is often recognised physically through excessive weight loss, it is a serious mental health problem.1,2
Someone with anorexia often has an intense fear of gaining weight and for many people they judge themselves and their worth based on their weight.3
Anyone can be affected by anorexia. While statistics show that anorexia is more commonly reported by young females, anorexia is increasingly being reported by men and boys, women over the age of 40, and in children as young as seven.4
What causes anorexia nervosa?
There is no single cause of anorexia and everyone’s reasons or triggers can be very different. It is usually understood as being due to a combination of factors.5
Low self-esteem has been commonly associated as a trigger for the onset of anorexia.6 Many people with anorexia report feeling worthless and not good enough. Losing weight can start to feel like a sense of achievement and can become a way for some people to feel a sense of worth.
Certain personality traits such as perfectionism have also been found to make a person more likely to be affected by anorexia.7 Other psychological factors which are associated with anorexia include:8
finding it hard to handle stress and cope with life
having feelings of obsession and compulsion.
We live in a society where body image is highly important. This means we are constantly being told that how we look reflects our worth which can leave us feeling increasingly ashamed of our bodies if they do not fit the model of what is a ‘good body’.
This can have an impact on our body-esteem and how we feel about ourselves. While these cultural and social pressures do not cause eating disorders, they can make those particularly vulnerable to developing an eating disorder feel more pressure to look a certain way and they can trigger an eating disorder.9
New research is looking into the genetic links that may underpin anorexia.10 There is also increasing work focusing on exploring the neurochemical and neurological make-up that may help us understand why some people develop anorexia and why some do not.11
Signs and symptoms of anorexia
It can be difficult to tell if you, someone you know or a friend has anorexia nervosa. Someone who has lost a lot of weight may have another type of health condition. However, particular signs that indicate that someone may have anorexia include are:12
Fear of fatness or pursuit of thinness.
Pre-occupation with body weight.
Distorted perception of body shape or weight, for example the person thinks they are overweight when actually they are underweight.
May underestimate the seriousness of the problem even after diagnosis.
May tell lies about eating or what they have eaten, give excuses about why they are not eating, pretend they have eaten earlier.
Not being truthful about how much weight they have lost.
Finding it difficult to think about anything other than food.
Counting the calories in food excessively.
Avoiding food they think is fattening.
Eating only low-calorie food.
Missing meals (restricting).
Avoiding eating with other people.
Cutting food into tiny pieces – to make it less obvious they have eaten little and to make food easier to swallow.
Obsessive behaviour and rituals around eating.
Social withdrawal and isolation, shutting yourself off from the world.
Severe weight loss.
Lack of sexual interest or potency.
Difficulty sleeping and tiredness.
Constipation and bloating.
Feeling cold or having a low body temperature.
Growth of downy (soft and fine) hair all over your body (called Lanugo).
Getting irritable and moody.
Low blood pressure.
What treatments are available?
Talking therapies can last up to 12 months or more depending on how severe and persistent someone’s anorexia is. The aim of talking therapies is to help identify the feelings and fears that cause one to stop eating and to help develop a healthier attitude towards food and one’s body.13
Cognitive analytical therapy (CAT) – this is based on the theory that the unhealthy patterns which trigger anorexia, are usually developed during childhood. It involves three stages: reformulation (looking at past events that may provide a reason for unhealthy patterns), recognition (helping people see how these patterns contribute to anorexia) and revision (identification of changes which can break these unhealthy patterns).14
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) – focuses on identifying and altering dysfunctional thought patterns, attitudes and beliefs which may trigger and perpetuate the person’s restrictive eating. The therapist helps the individual understand, identify and change eating disordered thoughts such as “everyone thinks I am fat”. A therapist can work with the individual with anorexia through specific behavioural interventions, such as promoting healthy eating behaviours through goal setting etc.15
One type of family therapy which is most often used with young people with anorexia is called ‘The Maudsley Approach.’ It is an intensive outpatient treatment programme where parents play an active and positive role in order to restore their child’s weight to normal healthy levels, give control of eating choices back to their child and encourages normal adolescent development.16
Most people with anorexia do not need to have inpatient treatment, but for some it may be needed to manage poor physical health. The decision to start inpatient treatment will usually be made alongside someone’s therapist and GP and the type of treatment will be decided to suit the person’s needs.
A few nights ago, I watched a programme about the effects of ‘Mental health in young people’.
It mentioned a few mental health issues such as Autism, ADHD, PTSD, Aspergers Syndrome and that wasn’t them all. The was one I had never heard of before. Hopefully that will come to me so that I can use it at a later date.
One Young person not only had Autism but was bordering on ADHD as well.
An interesting factor with all of the young people in the programme was that during the two periods of lockdown we had in the UK their mental health state climbed to a high
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety disorder which you may develop after being involved in, or witnessing, traumatic events. The condition was first recognised in war veterans and has been known by a variety of names, such as ‘shell shock’. But it’s not only diagnosed in soldiers – a wide range of traumatic experiences can cause PTSD.
“When something traumatic happens in your life it rocks you to the core. The world is no longer a safe place. It becomes somewhere that bad things can and do happen.”
What is it like to have PTSD
When is it diagnosed?
When you go through something you find traumatic it’s understandable to experience some symptoms associated with PTSD afterwards, such as feeling numb or having trouble sleeping. This is sometimes described as an ‘acute stress reaction’.
Many people find that these symptoms disappear within a few weeks, but if your symptoms last for longer than a month, you might be given a diagnosis of PTSD. Your GP might refer you to a specialist before this if your symptoms are particularly severe.
“I started experiencing symptoms of PTSD after my boyfriend died. I suffered extremely vivid flashbacks that could happen at any time, anywhere, and were deeply distressing… I threw myself into another relationship very quickly to try and avoid how I was feeling, but then also would not express much affection to my new partner.”
Are there different types of PTSD?
If you are given a diagnosis of PTSD, you might be told that you have mild, moderate or severe PTSD. This explains what sort of impact your symptoms are having on you currently – it’s not a description of how frightening or upsetting your experiences might have been.
PTSD may be described differently in some situations:
Delayed-onset PTSD – if your symptoms emerge more than six months after experiencing trauma, this might be described as ‘delayed PTSD’ or ‘delayed-onset PTSD’.
Complex PTSD – if you experienced trauma at an early age or it lasted for a long time, you might be given a diagnosis of ‘complex PTSD’. (See our page on complex PTSD for more information.)
If you experience some PTSD symptoms while supporting someone close to you who’s experienced trauma, this is sometimes known as ‘secondary trauma’.
“I couldn’t understand why I felt like my brain wasn’t functioning – I couldn’t remember things, I couldn’t process things. It was like my brain had just slowed down and ground to a halt.”
Experiences of facing stigma
There are lots of misconceptions about PTSD. For example, people may wrongly assume it means you are ‘dwelling’ on past events. They might even suggest that you should ‘get over it’ or ‘move on’. But having PTSD isn’t a choice or a sign of weakness, and it’s important to remember that you are not alone.
The BBC estimates that there are about 700,000 young carers in the UK. Being a young carer often means looking after a family member who is ill or helping them by looking after the other members of the family while they can’t.
Young carers often do more chores than other children would. On top of providing emotional support to the person they are caring for they may also have to learn how to nurse them or look after their personal needs like bathing and dressing.
It can be hard work being a young carer. Sometimes other children don’t understand your responsibilities and you have less free time than others.
Many young cope well with caring, especially if you have support from other family members and it’s important to look after yourself. You have the right to be looked after too and there are lots of places and people you can go to to get help.
Sometimes, being a young carer can get too much to deal with on your own. If you’re having any of these feelings, talk to your teacher, school nurse, college counsellor or GP who can help you.
Stressed by too much responsibility
Worried about your relative’s health
Coping with other people’s mood
No time for yourself or your homework
Feeling embarrassed about your situation
Low self-esteem, anxiety, anger or guilt
You’re not alone if any of these happen to you. Young carers miss an average of 48 days of school because of their role and 68% have been bullied at some point directly because of having to care for someone. Organisations set up to help young carers recognise all of these problems and have people and strategies to support you.
Even if you don’t feel like you need help for a problem, it is always good to have the support of others who understand your situation. Young carers groups run all around the UK to help with advice as well as giving you somewhere to let off steam and enjoy yourself.