Finding The Right Person or Type of Support
The right support person will be easy to talk to. They will listen and not judge or make you feel ashamed for anything you are feeling. So where do you find someone like that? It can feel like there are people all around you, but no one who really gets it.
Everyone in your family is going through this too. If you don’t feel you can talk to your parent who has cancer, you may be able to turn to your other parent, your brothers or sisters, or another relative.
Friends or other people:
You might be lucky and have some great friends who know how to provide you the support you need. Or maybe you can talk to a teacher at school and let them know what’s bothering you. Community and religious leaders are also experienced in supporting people and offering advice.
Doctors don’t only treat physical problems, but can also help in offering you support. They might have also known your family for a while and understand what’s happening for you. If you are over 14, you don’t need your parent’s permission to see a doctor.
Palliative care team:
If your parent is receiving palliative care, the team is there to provide emotional and practical support for the family and carers too. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about anything that is bothering you.
Counsellor or Social Worker:
These are professionals who have been trained to give emotional and practical support to people who are going through tough times. They can help you find solutions to problems and find ways to cope with the different parts of your life. They can also help your family to make decisions together if you are not so great at communicating right now.
How do you find a counsellor?
- There may be a counsellor at school or uni you can go to.
- Ask your local GP.
- Your parent’s hospital might offer counselling services to family members. Ask the nurses or palliative care team.
- Contact Canteen. We run a free counselling service for young people aged 12-14 who have a parent who has cancer, or has died from cancer. You can chat with one of our counsellors online, by phone, or face-2-face.
To see a counsellor face-to-face, you may need to make an appointment. You can access Canteen counsellors online or on the phone Mon-Fri 10am-10pm or Sat/Sun 11am-6pm. Outside of these hours, if you need to talk to someone 24/7 you can call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Canteen and other organisations bring together people with similar experiences so you can talk about things with people who really, truly understand – or just take some time to chill out and have fun.
Sometimes you talk about cancer in these groups and share stories and tips for coping with each other and with professionals. Other times you just hang out and make new friends with people who get what you’re going through.
Find out about Canteen peer support groups and programs.
Log in to the Canteen Community to join in online forums and connect with other young people in similar situations to you. It can be really helpful to read other people’s real-life stories and realise that you are not alone in what you are feeling. It can also make things easier to open up when you can be anonymous.
You can find more Useful Links here.