What to Do If You're Worried About a Parent or Carer

Most parents worry about their children sometimes, but we worry about them too!

There’s no point keeping worries to yourself though. It’s normal to feel worried sometimes about people we love. Knowing you worry about them could help them to look after themselves better. Talking about worries helps cut them down and helps us to deal with them.

Should I tell them I’m worried? 


Knowing that you’re concerned about them might give them the little push they need to make changes in their lives. Be clear what you’re worried about and why, but try not to nag them. 

What if they smoke, drink too much or take drugs? 

Let them know you’re worried about their behaviour. If possible, it’s best to do this when they’re sober. You could also point them in the direction of getting help for their substance abuse.

Living with someone who misuses drugs or alcohol can be hard to cope with – make sure you get support if you need it too. 

Find out about drugs, alcohol and more from Choices for Life.

What if they’re ill? 

It’s natural to worry about people we love if they get ill. Ask them to keep you informed about their treatment and what’s likely to happen. If you know what’s wrong, you could also get more information from the NHS Inform Website.

If you have to look after them sometimes, read our information on being a carer and find out what you might be entitled to.

If they’re ill and you can’t get to a doctor, call NHS24 on 111.

If it’s an emergency, call 999 and ask for an ambulance. 

What if they have mental health problems? 

First, you should know that most people recover from mental health problems. Others learn to live well despite being ill from time to time. You can’t ‘catch’ a mental illness from someone. Although some mental health problems do run in families, most don’t. Even for those that do sometimes run in families, having a relative with a mental health problem doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get ill too. 

Looking after you

It’s really important to look after yourself and your own mental health too. Visit our Aye Feel page for lots of information on how to look after yourself, including mindfulness activities, coping strategies and a list of organisations you can contact 24/7 via phone, email, live chat and text message. 

Find more information on the Young Carers campaign page.

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