Getting support after loss

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Getting the right sort of support when you are grieving is very important but asking for help can be difficult too.

Because the grieving process lasts for a long time, what kind of support you want/need may change over time and asking for it may get harder, especially if you and others think that you should be ‘over it’ by a certain time.

Your first step in getting support is admitting that you need it. The second step is finding the right person.

Who can you get support from?

Sometimes it feels like there are people all around you, but no one really gets it, that no one can understand what you are going through.

Usually you might lean on your family. But everyone in your family will be dealing with their own grief and they may not have the energy or capacity to give you the support that you need.

Some friends are great at saying the right things and supporting you, but others just can’t talk about death and might not be supportive as you need.

It may take a few shots at finding the right person, but it’s worth making the effort.

A lot of young people say the best support comes from others who have been in the same boat – young people whose mum or dad or brother or sister has cancer or has died from cancer. Log in to the Canteen Community to link with other young people with cancer.

If you feel like you want to talk to someone outside your family and circle of friends, a counsellor is always a good option. You might be thinking, ‘Nope, that’s not for me!’. But counselling might not be what you think. Counsellors are trained people who are very good at listening to what you have to say and helping you to make sense of it.

Contact a Canteen counsellor for a chat online, by phone, or you can meet face-to-face. Or ask a member of your treatment team, your GP or social worker at the hospital for help finding the right counsellor.

Asking for support

Asking for support can be hard. If it’s hard to find the words, try emailing or messaging someone you trust and telling them one thing they could do for you – like ‘I need a break from dealing with this – want to go to a movie?’.

Or maybe copy the address for a page or section of this site and forward it to them so they get a clue about how you’re feeling or what you’re going through.

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