(Fictional Profile)

Age: 18

Book Title, Author, Publisher & Year of Publication: The Voice Inside My Head by S.J. Laidlaw, Tundra Books (2014)

How long have you been a Young Carer? I realized pretty early on that my mom was an alcoholic and couldn’t take care of me or my young brother Luke properly. I’ve been looking out for Luke at least since I was seven years old.

Who do you care for and how? I care for my mom by putting her to bed when she’s had too much to drink and by making sure everyone else is taken care of when she is too depressed to get out of bed. I make meals, and mostly I make sure Luke has someone he can depend on. This used to mean walking him home from school, making sure he ate enough and got to bed on time. Now that we’re older, Luke has needed less care, but my mother’s fragile mental state means I’ve had to focus on her needs over my own.

How has being a Young Carer affected your life? Graduating from high school was a huge milestone in my life, but it was marred by a crisis with my mother. While I had plans to go to university, I considered delaying for a year to stay on and help at home. My brother Luke took care of me though and helped me to see it was okay for me to finally go and live my own life after taking care of everyone else for so long.

What is your favourite activity? I love white sharks and want to go to university to learn more about them. Getting accepted to work at the White Shark Research Centre in Utila was a dream come true for me.