When she watched her dad die in front of her eyes, Mya Abdul felt she had the weight of the world on her shoulders.

She was just 13 years old when tragedy struck on a day out with her parents and younger brother, ripping the family apart.

Now aged 18, Sixth Form student Mya has told how she overcame heartache to balance her schoolwork with caring for her loved ones once her mum's health deteriorated due to back problems.

Mya, from Benwell, who has raised her autistic brother since he was 18 months old, said: "I haven’t really had a lot of time to be my age, so to go to university and actually act like an 18 to 21-year-old will be quite nice."

Throughout her teenage years, Mya has found it difficult to attend school and meet deadlines due to the strain of being a carer.

She said: "A lot of my coursework doesn’t get done, because I’m staying up late to talk to my mum and make sure she is okay.

"She’s lost her best friend and the love of her life, so I have to step in to be a best friend, a carer and a daughter."

Mya has experienced PTSD since witnessing the death of her father, Wadud Mohammed Abdul.

The 36-year-old teacher at Hadrian School in Newcastle died from cold water shock after jumping into Low Force waterfall on the River Tees during a family day out for his birthday in 2015.

Mya, who watched helplessly alongside her mum Cheryl and brother Isa, said jumping into a river was something she and her father both had on their bucket list.

Despite carrying out the demanding duties of being a carer, which involve housework, picking her brother up from school and taking her mum to hospital, for a while Mya was unaware that she was considered a carer.

It wasn't until she filled out a questionnaire during a personal, social, health and economic (PHSE) lesson at school that she was identified as one.

Since then, Mya has been helped by Newcastle Carers, a charity focused on helping carers in Newcastle.

Claire Briston, young adult carers worker at the charity, said: "Most young people don’t realise they are young carers when they are in a caring role, they just think it’s normal life.

"If professionals aren’t looking for the signs and understanding what a caring role is, a lot of the time it can go under the radar."

Wadud Abdul

The charity has allowed Mya to meet other people in a similar situation and understand that her situation is not uncommon.

In fact, Newcastle Carers estimates that there are around 26,000 carers in Newcastle and one in 12 young people are carers.

Mya said: “If I never got told that I wouldn’t be taken away from my mum, I would never have told anybody about my situation.”

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Now, Mya is dedicated to helping businesses and organisations identify young carers and offer advice on how to approach them.

She gave her first talk at the Royal Station Hotel on Thursday November 21, to 100 people from local schools, NHS England, charities and youth workers.

She will then speak at a national NHS conference, Commitment to Carers, in London on December 6, where she hopes to spread the message, “I care for them, now I’m asking you to care for us.”