'My mum developed mental health problems when I was about 11 and I’ve been caring for her since then. Most of the time it’s making sure she’s okay and if things aren’t quite the way they should be, just talking it over. And then there’s also the cooking, cleaning, taking her to the doctors.'
Josh Adams from Towcester in Northamptonshire is working with Fixers to get professionals to engage more with young people who are caring for relatives with mental health conditions.
His story was broadcast on ITV News Anglia on December 7th.
'Because I was under 18,' he says, 'the mental health professionals decided that I needed no information about what was going on with my mum so I was kept out of the loop for quite literally years.
'They could have helped by giving me a bit more information on things like altering my mum’s medication or her treatment. If I had known a bit more, it would have prepared me for how I could have cared better for my mum.'
Josh believes that, if the professionals had listened to him, he could even have helped them with their diagnosis and treatment plan.
He’s backed up by Trevor Froggatt of Northamptonshire Young Carers.
Says Trevor: 'The young people are so brilliantly placed to give a view on what’s happening to their loved ones. But unfortunately, a lot of the health care professionals don’t always listen to children because they don’t really think they have a point.”
Josh says he’d like there to be a two way flow of information - so families know what they’re dealing with and how they can help their relative. And professionals can get valuable input from the people who know their patients best.
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below.