Exploring the experiences of adolescent caregivers of mentally ill parents is essential to understand their challenges and identify their care needs. Using a qualitative research design, 18 caregiving adolescents shared their experiences of living with and providing care to a parent with a severe mental illness. The analysis of the interviews resulted in the emergence of three main categories: (1) emotional exhaustion with associated subthemes of ‘ongoing worries’, ‘fear of loneliness’, ‘feeling of shame and guilt’ and ‘fear of discrimination and stigma’; (2) being trapped in a difficult situation with subthemes of ‘living a compromised life’, ‘alienating from peers’ and ‘caregiver rather than care receiver; and (3) adapting to the situation with subthemes of developing new skills and growing accountability. The study findings suggest that adolescent caregivers of parents with severe mental illness experience significant challenges and psychological distress associated with their caregiving role. They need to be supported by health care providers to develop strategies to adjust to their situation and maintain health and well-being.