We support a 10 year old, Sophie, who looks after her mum. Her mum has Borderline Personality Disorder and extreme anxiety. The family are isolated, mum struggles to build friendships and relies heavily on Sophie for support.
At the start of our work with the family, Sophie knew about mum’s mental health difficulties, but not in detail. She was angry and frustrated and the relationship between her and mum was strained. Sophie was stressed at school and finding it difficult to concentrate. When her mum was struggling to leave the house, Sophie took responsibility for food shopping and other household tasks. She also supports mum emotionally, making sure she’s safe and okay and keeping her company; worrying about leaving her alone.
We’ve worked with Sophie on understanding her caring role, her mum’s illness and helped her to build a support network nearby. She has developed strategies for managing her own mental health, coping with stress and expressing her emotions. Family support sessions with mum and Sophie have helped both of them to communicate with each other, telling each other their worries. Sophie now feels more confident to go out to play, leaving mum at home. Sophie also now feels that she can identify if mum is having a good day or a bad day, and manage her worries more appropriately. Sophie has also been part of our online activities, meeting other young carers to play games and chat.
Sophie and her mum are happier with each other, and Sophie feels less worried and anxious about her mum. Sophie is spending more time with friends and neighbours, and less at home. Mum has started to tell Sophie how she is feeling, whether it’s a good day or a bad day. They are both calmer and communicating more.