Young adult carers: making choices and managing relationships with a parent with a mental illness

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Abstract

Objective: 
While there is a growing body of research focusing on young carers, less is known about young people caring for a parent with a mental illness and their experiences as they move into adult life.
Method: 
This paper reports the findings of a qualitative research project. Using thematic narrative analysis of interview data, insight is gained into the participants’ experiences of their parents’ mental illness and how they made sense of them.
Results: 
The term young carer implies that the role stops once the child reaches maturity, however, care for parents often continues into adulthood. Key challenges that young adult carers face include: education and employment; managing relationships; becoming a parent; exercising agency and maintaining boundaries.
Discussion: 
This study extends our knowledge of young carers’ experiences and support needs during the transition to adulthood and suggests the need for services to support parents so that young adult carers are able to make choices about their own lives.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-240
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities
Volume18
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jul 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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