Your Parent’s Cancer – Getting Help & Support
Having a mum or dad with cancer can be really tough, but you are not alone. There are people who will understand and can help. There are services and programs to help you at school/study or work, organisations that provide help at home or financial and legal advice, and trained professionals whose entire focus is helping people affected by cancer cope with all its challenges.
You’re not being selfish to let people know you’re having a hard time and need some help. It can be really hard to ask for support. You might not be able to find the right words, feel embarrassed or scared of getting upset. Talking things through can be a big relief. It can help to put things into perspective and sort things out in your head. It can also help you feel less alone. Your first step in getting support being willing to give it a try. 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 there’s no one can understand what you are going through. Some friends are great at saying the right things and supporting you, but others don’t really get the whole cancer thing 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. Check out this list of potential supporters.
A lot of young people say the best support comes from others who have been in the same boat. Log in to the Canteen Community to link with other young people whose mum or dad has 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 confidential chat online, by phone, or you can meet face-2-face. Or ask a member of your parent’s 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 ‘Meet me after I get back from the hospital’.
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.
If you need immediate help 24/7, call the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or Lifeline on 13 11 14, or 000 for emergency help.