Involved but not included: young carers’ experiences of professional support while growing up with a parent with mental illness

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Children growing up with a parent with mental ill-health are a hidden and vulnerable group. Positioned at the intersection between adult and children services, and health and social care, these children fall between the gaps, rarely acknowledged in policy or practice. This is exacerbated when the young person is excluded under the auspices of patient confidentiality and age appropriateness. This article reports findings from research which captured young carers’ retrospective accounts of professional support when caring for a parent with mental illness. Participants in this research study described being ‘involved but not included’; they provided significant care to their parent and were relied on by professionals to provide support. However, they were simultaneously omitted from any discussion or understanding of the decisions made. This article explores the relevance of these accounts for current service provision. It concludes with recommendations for involving young carers in care planning and ensuring that young carers have their own needs assessed and acknowledged by professionals.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Social Work Practice
Early online date6 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 6 Jun 2024


  • Parental Mental Illness
  • Family focus
  • Health and Social Carte
  • Service experiences
  • Young Carers
  • Parental mental ill-health
  • service experiences
  • health and social care
  • family focus
  • young carers

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