Usher Institute

Kinship carers comic created to help relieve stress

A comic book full of helpful hints has been launched to support people who play vital caring roles within their family circles.

The one-off magazine, which comes with an audio CD, aims to boost the wellbeing of those who look after children in their family who are not living with their parents.

Makers of the new resource – which includes relaxation tips put together by public health experts – say it could also improve the home life for young people in this type of care.


Kinship carers – often grandparents or aunts and uncles – take care of children who no longer live with their parents owing to circumstances such as death, addictions and abuse. 

Around 17000 children in Scotland live in kinship care.

We were really struck by the high levels of stress faced by kinship carers and we were driven to work with them to develop a resource that focused on their own self-care. By improving the wellbeing of kinship carers we hope to impact on their relationship with the children they care for. The comic and CD are free and easy to use and we encourage kinship carers from across the country to access the resource.

Dr Jane HartleyUsher Institute of Population Health Sciences and Informatics, University of Edinburgh


Researchers say kinship carers are an under-served group facing high levels of stress and money worries, with few resources to support their mental wellbeing.

Local kinship carers worked with researchers at the University of Edinburgh to develop the comic, named Cathy’s Relaxation Story. It tells the tale of Cathy and her teenage grandson Jordan.


Tips on nurturing relationships with distressed children, building a support network and coping strategies are woven throughout the story.

The comic was supported by funding from the Robertson Trust.

The relaxation techniques have helped me a lot and I tend to do the breathing exercises when I feel myself getting agitated. They have helped me talk to my autistic grandson in a calm way and better explain things to him.

Catherine StewartKinship carer involved in creating the resource

Related Links

Cathy's Relaxation Story