Overwhelmed looking after younger sister and need some space

Hi everyone,

I’m 23 and my younger sister (21) is currently very depressed and suicidal. Our Mum passed away when we were very young and my Dad doesn’t really have a good relationship with my sister - therefore I am the only person she relies on and she calls me every single day upset or angry about something. She’s also very stubborn and refuses to accept help from others.

I love her very much and she is my whole world but lately its becoming too much and has triggered really bad anxiety within myself. Every time she calls I feel sick because I’m worried I’m going to answer and she’s going to be in a state. Sometimes I cant even bring myself to answer the phone but obviously I do because shes so depressed I have to make sure she’s ok.

She’s working with a mental health crisis team but I still feel like its my responsibility. I really need some space because I feel like it’s ruining my life. I feel so guilty but there have been times where I’ve wished I could block her number. I have gently tried to communicate with her that its a bit tough for me, but it just makes her upset.

I also feel like answering the phone to her all the time may be enabling her as she knows I will always save her? How can I set some healthy boundaries and put some space between us?

Hi Hannah … welcome to an extremely quiet forum.

First off … a kinship carer … one thread specifically designed to assist kinship carers in that capacity :


Forums for young adult kinship carers ?

Difficult to pin down outside of the main foster carer forums.

If interested , I’ll provide links to those which have the best relevance.

Others will be along to extend their welcomes , and add their insights.

Hello and welcome!

Have you had a needs assessment or not yet? A good social worker can do one with you for her. Also request a referral to community mental health services in your area through your family doctor. I think a counsellor might be wise. The needs assessment can help you figure out how best to help her be independent. Call up the local council tomorrow morning to start the process.

Have you applied for benefits too? The two most important ones are ESA and PIP. Citizens Advice can help you fill out the forms and appeal a decision as well.

I think a shared counselling session or advocate. So both of you can have your say! You are NOT your sister’s keeping or responsible for her. She is an adult and needs to take responsibly of her life. As a sibling you can only support not live their life for them. I am afraid is going to be a bumpy ride. If only we could just walk away. I think you will have to make a rule. That she phones only once a day for a short period of time. Then reduce this to alternate days. And reduce and keep going. Or tell her you will be taking a break/holiday were there will be no contact. She has a team of people with the mental health team. You need to link up with other carers.

What are your sisters problems?

Have you made any contact with MIND UK?

If you’re going to make contact with MIND, do so quickly. I was referred back in June and still no therapist appointment!