A survey by a group of charities for Carers Week suggested 75% of those looking after a relative with health problems were unprepared for the responsibility - and four out of five felt they did not know where to seek support.
Andrew Barraclough, of the Carers Trust, said help is out there - if you know who to ask.
A report released for Carers Week by a group of charities has highlighted what they call a "woeful lack of support" for people taking on a caring role.
- 79% of carers said they were not aware of the support available
- 30% believed they had been given the wrong advice about the help on offer
- 96% felt more stressed because of caring
The charities behind the research said nearly 2,000 people take on a new caring role every week in the North East.
Six out of ten carers in the North East have suffered depression, according to new research carried out for Carers Week.
The report, organised by a group of charities, said 75% of carers feel "unprepared" for the responsibility of looking after someone. Researchers spoke to 74 carers in the region.
Staff in the North East have helped The Co-operative reach a £1 million milestone in the quest to raise money for young adult carers.
Employees from The Co-operative Banking Group took part in a bungee jump at the Tees Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough to raise money for Carers Trust.
Meanwhile, a team from The Co-operative's Birtley distribution centre will put their best feet forward with a four-day hike along Hadrian's Wall to raise £1000 for the charity.
A cake sale hosted by staff at the store in Wooler brought in almost £200.
– Michael Fairclough, The Co-operative's head of community and co-operative investment
"I am delighted to see the enthusiasm our staff, members and customers are demonstrating in support of young people in our communities who undertake unpaid practical and emotional caring responsibilities for family members or friends who cannot cope without them.
"Although it will affect most families at some time, caring remains a hidden issue. Together we will put this issue on the agenda and make life changing differences to thousands of young lives."
Carers Trust provides much-needed breaks, information, advice and support for young adult carers aged 14 to 25.
There are an estimated seven million carers in the UK, of whom nearly 500,000 are young adult carers.
– Thea Stein, chief executive of Carers Trust
"This is wonderful news. At the start of our partnership with The Co-operative we dared to dream of a transformative year for Carers Trust and for those hard-working young people all around us who desperately need our support and services.
"We are already hearing from young people across the UK who are thrilled that this hidden issue is being recognised and it is with thanks to the staggering support of The Co-operative."
Young carers in the North East will benefit from a new fundraising drive by staff at The Co-operative.
Carers Trust has been named the group's charity of the year, with 100,000 staff around the country aiming to raise funds of five million pounds.
Money raised will help support young carers aged 14 to 25 who make up some of the 286,351 people in the region who provide care for a friend or family member.
To mark the launch of the fundraising drive, colleagues took part in a charity concert at the group's head office in Manchester.
Staff tuned in to a Rock Around The Clock theme to acknowledge the 24/7 nature of the challenge facing carers.
There are an estimated 500,000 young people in the UK caring for a loved one.
Funds raised will be used to provide advice and support, as well as much-needed breaks for young adult carers.
– Peter Marks, group chief executive of The Co-operative
"Although it will affect most families at some time, the challenges of unpaid caring is an often hidden issue and, our work with Carers Trust, which forms an integral part of our commitment to inspiring young people, sets out to change that.
I am confident that with the support of our staff, members and customers we can make life changing differences to thousands of young people across the UK."
– Thea Stein, chief executive of Carers Trust
"Our partnership with The Co-operative will focus on young adult carers, with the money raised completely transforming many of these young people's lives, not just for today, or tomorrow, but forever.
Importantly, as well as raising the money to provide this vital support, we will also be able to bring the hidden issue of unpaid carers to centre stage where it should be, so that no-one is isolated and under pressure, caring for a loved one with no support. We are looking forward to a wonderful, transformative year."