Youth siblings area
When your brother or sister is experiencing mental health or emotional problems, you can face many difficult feelings and issues and you might not know where to turn for answers and help.
The Siblings Network is a space where you can find information and advice and find out about the experiences of other siblings through stories and blogs.
You are not alone
It might sometimes feel like you're the only person going through this, but you're not alone in how you are feeling. There are many others with a brother or sister with mental illness too. You can hear from some of them on this website.
The situation now
Your brother or sister may have received a mental illness diagnosis, or their behaviour or feelings might suggest that they need help to recover their mental health, but you or your family are not quite sure what kind of help they need.
You may have noticed some changes in your sibling's behaviour which have caused you, your family and your sibling to become concerned about their mental health, such as a loss of interest in spending time with friends or family; a lack of motivation; less attention to their personal hygiene than usual; difficulty communicating as before; problems sleeping or eating; suspiciousness; strange reactions to others or big changes in their emotions such as being extremely happy or very low.
Whatever stage you and your family are at, you may find some of the information below helpful in thinking about how you can support yoru sibling and how you can look after your own wellbeing too.
He started being less himself in many different small ways. But none of those things were like glaring indicators because he was a teenager.
How are you feeling?
It can be difficult to understand these changes in your sibling's behaviour and you may find yourself feeling a mixture of emotions that you find difficult to face.
- fear about what is happening
- loss and sorrow for your brother or sister as you knew them and concern about your relationship in the future
- guilt about why this has happened to your sibling
- anger at your sibling for the way they are acting, or anger at your parents
- worry about whether the same thing will happen to you
- anxiety caused by family stress or bullying by others
- envy and resentment that your parents treat your sibling differently from you
- embarrassment about your sibling's behaviour in front of friends
- uncertainty about how to talk to friends and family about your sibling's mental illness
- hopeful for the future
Read more about how siblings sometimes feel
How you can help your sibling
When your brother or sister is having difficulties with their mental health, it can be difficult to know what you can do to help them. Although they may need support and help in the form of medication, talking therapies or a combination of both, there are also some things that you can do to help them.
Find out about things you can do
Find out more about mental illness
Although things can be difficult, you may find it helps to find out more about your sibling's mental illness and ways you can support them. Visit our Young People’s website to find out about mental health and ways you can support someone with mental illness, as well as ways you can look after your own mental health.
It does get better, there's a lot of learning and a lot of loving that can take place. And it can be good.
Talking to others
If you would like to meet other siblings in your area, you could find out about young carer organisations near you by contacting our advice service or by asking the mental health team in contact with your brother or sister or a parent or other trusted adult such as a school or college teacher to help.
You might like to try talking with family and friends and if you can't talk to them, you could try talking to a teacher at school or college. You could also hear from other siblings who have gone through similar experience through our siblings network: