Young carers

Helping out or supporting someone who has anxiety, depression or another mental health condition can be rewarding, but it can also be tough. However, there are some great organisations that can help teach you how to cope, where to get support, and what you can do to help your parent, friend or sibling when they're unwell. Here are some tips on things to consider and some really great organisations that can give you more information and support.


Looking after yourself

One of the most important things when you are supporting someone else is to look after yourself. It’s important for both your physical and mental health so that you can continue to help your friend or family member. 

  • Learn as much as you can about their condition – this will help you feel more confident about supporting someone. You might get this information from a helpline, websites or from a health professional.
  • Talk to your family, friends or someone you trust – if you don’t feel that you can talk to your friends or family about how you’re feeling, get in touch with your local Carers Association on 1800 242 636.
  • Learn to understand how you are feeling – when you are supporting someone you can experience a range of emotions from guilt to anger, pride to love. It can help to understand more about these emotions.
  • Join a support group – having other people around you who understand your situation can be really comforting. To find a support group call your local Carers Association on 1800 242 636.


Study combined with supporting someone can be difficult to balance. You might need some additional support.

Consider talking to your teacher, lecturer or school counsellor about your supporting role. Schools and universities generally have policies to help students who have additional responsibilities, and you can often get extensions or advice on doing your course over a longer period of time. There is lots of support available



Same goes for work. You might need some additional support.

Chat to your manager about your situation and explain that you might need flexibility around your roster or work hours.

How can I help my parent if they have a mental health condition?

These and other helpful tips are available from Children of Parents with a Mental Illness (COPMI). COPMI has also produced a series of short videos for young people, to help explain the signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions that their parent may experience and to help navigate the path to getting better.

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Where to get support

Sometimes you need more than the help of your friends and family. 

Anxiety and depression are medical conditions and so treatment from a health professional is sometimes necessary. There are a range of health professionals available to support you while you recover from anxiety and depression.

Support groups, websites and helplines can also be a great help.

Young Carers
1800 242 636

Carers Australia
1800 242 636

Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre
1800 052 222

Children of Parents with a Mental Illness