Joining a support group is a great way to relax and meet other young carers. You can make friends with people who understand what you are going through and get emotional support.
Many young carers find that support groups are fun. Meetings sometimes include activities, a social event or a talk from a guest speaker. You can share as little or much as you like with others. You may want to talk about cancer and your caring role, but you will probably chat about all sorts of things.
Your school or college may already have a support group. You can also ask your GP, school nurse or look online to see if there is one in your area. We have a search tool called In your area, which you can use to find local support groups.
If there is no support group that you can go to locally, you can set one up. You could also encourage your school to set up a support group. Your teachers can find information about this on the Carers Trust website.
Young carer workers run projects that can support you and your family. These projects can give you the chance to:
- have a break and do something fun
- talk to other young carers
- talk to someone who will listen to you and your concerns
- get help, information and advice for your whole family.
You can find local young carers' projects near you on the Children's Society website.
A social worker helps individuals and their families sort out practical and financial problems. Any young carer or their family can ask a local social worker to visit them and do a young carer’s assessment. Sometimes a young carer worker does the assessment instead.
If a social worker is asked to visit your family, they can help you all cope with looking after someone who has cancer. They can give you information, advice and support. You can talk to them if you have any questions or worries.
Your social worker is there to make sure that, as a young person, you are being protected and supported at home.
There are lots of charities across the UK that can support young carers and their families.
Here are some health charities that can help:
Macmillan Cancer Support
We offer practical, emotional and financial help for anyone affected by cancer, including young people and carers. You can call the Macmillan Support Line free on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week, 8am to 8pm) and talk to us. We can answer your questions about cancer, or just be there to listen if you feel like talking to someone. Or you can chat to us online.
Cancer Research UK
There are also charities for specific types of cancer.
Some charities, like the Children’s Society, are there to protect children and young people. Other charities can support you and your whole family, including Action for Children, Barnardo’s and Family Action.
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Hospices support people with an incurable illness and their family members, close friends or carers. The care and support from a hospice are always free.
You may think that hospices only look after people at the very end of their life. But if people are diagnosed with an incurable illness, they can use hospice care at any stage of their condition. They often get care in their own home or by visiting the hospice as a day patient. Sometimes people stay in a hospice for a short time to give their carers a break.
A hospice provides a wide range of services and can support your whole family. The person with cancer may be offered:
- help to manage symptoms like pain
- relaxation therapies
- emotional, spiritual or practical support.
You may be able to join a support group or counselling sessions for carers at the hospice. Your local hospice can explain what services are available. To find a local hospice, ask a GP or district nurse, or visit Hospice UK.
Below is a sample of the sources used in our information for young carers. If you would like more information about the sources we use, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Carers Trust. www.carers.org (accessed April 2020).
Carers UK. www.carersuk.org (accessed April 2020).
The Children’s Society. www.childrenssociety.org.uk (accessed April 2020).
Mind. www.mind.org.uk (accessed April 2020).
NHS. Being a young carer: your rights. Available from www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/support-and-benefits-for-carers/being-a-young-carer-your-rights (accessed April 2020).
This information has been written, revised and edited by Macmillan Cancer Support’s Cancer Information Development team. It has been reviewed by expert medical and health professionals and people living with cancer. It has been approved by Chief Medical Editor, Professor Tim Iveson, Consultant Medical Oncologist.
Our cancer information has been awarded the PIF TICK. Created by the Patient Information Forum, this quality mark shows we meet PIF’s 10 criteria for trustworthy health information.