A cancer diagnosis can be an extremely stressful and emotional time for the person diagnosed, as well as their carer and family. This was the case prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and with the many changes this has brought to our daily lives, it's understandable that the impact of a cancer diagnosis has been intensified and felt by more people.
Here at Cancer Council WA, our counsellors are available to provide emotional support to those who need it. Counsellors are able to provide a safe and secure service to meet their clients' needs via face-to-face, telehealth, or telephone appointments.
How can a counsellor help?
Counselling can help you learn how to cope with emotions such as fear and anxiety; and challenges such as communication issues, isolation and adjusting to changes in family dynamics.
By sharing your thoughts and feelings with a professional counsellor, you can explore what is happening in your life. By addressing the issues that have arisen, you can discover possible solutions and help develop skills that can be incorporated into your daily life. This will in turn produce benefits such as reducing distress and anxiety, improving coping abilities and your overall wellbeing.
For one cancer patient, the counselling provided through Cancer Council WA allowed them to take control of their thoughts during and after their cancer diagnosis:
"It is very comforting to know that the care during and after cancer diagnosis is so readily available if either myself or my family need it. My counsellor was so wonderful and because the help was provided quickly, my problem did not escalate and I have had no return of the thoughts to date."
For another individual, counselling allowed her to deal with certain hurdles that arose whilst caring for her husband:
"This service was amazing. It really helped me to deal with the problems I was having as a carer for my husband. I have learnt so much and can now move forward. I am so grateful for all of the help I received."
Thanks to the generosity of our donors, supporters and counselling providers, last financial year we were able to provide this critical support to 775 cancer patients, their carers and family members, with a total of 1488 counselling sessions.
Our Cancer Information and Support Services Director, Melanie Marsh, said it's imperative we continue to provide support to people experiencing significant distress as a result of their cancer diagnosis and the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The physical, emotional and psychological impact of cancer has always been a considerable and enduring hardship for many patients and their families," Ms Marsh said.
One of our counselling providers is Direction Psychology who, like many of our other counsellors, have been instrumental in delivering alternative methods of counselling in the form face-to-face, telehealth and telephone counselling, to help protect our clients and keep them safe.
"We are so grateful to Direction Psychology for their tremendous support during these challenging times."
Clinical Psychologist & Director of Direction Psychology, Karen Huggett said they are proud to be part of such an important program helping people affected by cancer.
"Our partnership with Cancer Council WA allows us to provide mental health care services to individuals, couples, children and families, so that not only the person diagnosed with cancer can receive the psychological support they need, but so can their loved ones and carers," Ms Huggett said.
"The unfortunate reality is that we all know of someone impacted by cancer, and the mental health effects can be devastating, so being able to make a difference by providing psychological services to those in need is truly rewarding."
How can you access our counselling service?
If you would like to access the Cancer Council WA Counselling services please call our Cancer Nurses on 13 11 20 or speak with your local Regional Cancer Support Coordinator.
Parents can request counselling on behalf of children under 16, but we also require the child's consent.
If you're a health professional and have a patient or client who would like to access the Cancer Council WA Counselling Services, please direct them to call our Cancer Nurses on 13 11 20.
Alternatively you can email us.