Abbigail: ‘I wanted to get my story out so people could see…what young carers have to deal with.’

Coming soon to CBC Gem.

15-year-old Abbigail is a young carer to her twin brother Andrew.

Andrew has Tourette syndrome and a severe mood disorder. Because of his illness, Andrew experiences uncontrollable tics and outbursts.

Abbigail helps care for him — making sure he takes his medication and watching over him to help keep him safe — all while trying to live a “normal” teenager’s life.

Since Red Button...

Abbigail met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this year as part of the Powerhouse Project, an organization that offers assistance to young caregivers. 

Abbigail and Andrew were on a Families in Canada panel at the University of Guelph, where they spoke about being a caregiver and a care receiver.

Resources

The Powerhouse Project (905-397-4201) is a non-profit agency with a mission to promote the wellbeing of Young Carers, their families and their community partners.  They serve caregiving children, youth, young adults and their families through social, recreational and educational programs intended to foster resilience, self esteem, and life skills.

The Young Carers Program (416-364-1666) is an inter-agency strategy developed to meet needs of young carers and their families by facilitating supportive programs throughout Toronto that focus on recreational, social, educational and skill development activities.

FAME Kids (416-207-5032) allows children ages 7-12 and youth ages 13-18 who have a family member experiencing a mental health concern to access free supportive counselling services.

The Cowichan Young Carers Program (250-597-0886) provides support, information, education and advocacy to youth in a caregiving role to a family member.

The Change Foundation ensures providers, patients and caregivers have an equal voice in informing positive change. 

Tourette Canada (1-800-361-3120) provides a range of services to those living with Tourette Syndrome and their families.  Their main goal is to create awareness and understanding of Tourette Syndrome through education, advocacy, support and the promotion of research.

Kids Help Phone (1-800-688-6868) is a 24/7 national counselling hotline for youth. From Wednesday to Sunday, a counsellor is available online or through the Always There mobile app. Hours are 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. EST.

To call a crisis centre, Your Life Counts and the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (CASP) have comprehensive lists of centres across Canada that are operating help lines.

Youth Space runs online and text messaging counselling every night, from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. PST. Services are free, but texting rates may apply.

YouthInBC.com provides youth resources on their website and an online chat service where you can chat 1-on-1 with a trained volunteer, operated by the Crisis Centre of BC.

Mental Health Services (1-866-531-2600) connects callers with mental health and addiction resources in Ontario. They can be reached by phone, email, or web chat. Their search engine has a database of relevant services and organizations in the province.

BeanBagChat allows young people (aged 16 - 29) to speak with another young peer supporter about whatever's on their mind, from the comfort of their own device.

The Native Youth Crisis Hotline (1-877-209-1266) is available for any First Nations youth in crisis or looking for referrals.

Naseeha (1-866-627-3342) is a helpline for Muslim youth across North America, available weekday nights.

Season 2 episodes