‘The emotional and mental health needs of young carers: What psychiatry can do’

Author(s): Roswitha Dharampal and Cornelius Ani
Publisher: BJPsych Bulletin
Year Published: 2020
Resource type: Peer Reviewed Research Article


The authors reviewed the literature on the emotional and mental health needs of young carers who care for parents with mental illness and aimed to see how much of their needs were met and supported. They found five articles. Results indicated that young carers who helped parents with mental illness had more needs and risks. One study found that having a family member with mental health concern impacted young carer’s adjustments. Another study found that helping parents with mental health issues placed young carers’ in more adverse circumstances and affected their social lives, attachment, and overall development. Other studies reported higher mortality rate for young carers, as well as more tension and strain. Other penalties associated with caregiving were revealed. Results indicated that often, professionals can overlook children in caregiving roles by either not asking if patients had any children or not asking if children had caregiving duties to report. Some may think it was not their place to ask these questions because they were focusing on improving patients’ lives. Even worse, sometimes
young carers get excluded from important conversations. Therefore, it became clear that a family-system approach, changes in practice, and assessment of children’s needs is needed. The authors urged for psychiatrists and other professionals to recognize young carers’ role and include them in their parents’ treatment plans.

Citation: Dharampal, R., & Ani, C. (2020). The emotional and mental health needs of young carers: What
psychiatry can do. BJPsych Bulletin, 44(3), 112-120. https://doi.org/10.1192/bjb.2019.78

Keywords: Young carers, mental health, psychiatry, systematic review.

Where the data was collected: Preview of literature of five studies from Switzerland, the
Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and Northern Ireland.