Receiving a cancer diagnosis and undergoing any treatment is a shit situation, and may do your head in. You may experience differing levels of stress, depression, and anxiety during the immediate phase of diagnosis and treatment, but also possibly years after you finish active treatment. This is a common experience. It is a trauma, and cancer-related post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) is a reality for many people.
Making your mental health a priority is really important. There are many ways of looking after yourself, including exercise, meditation, indulging in good food, pampering yourself (yes men, you too), and continuing the activities and hobbies you love.
It is also highly recommended that you seek the services of a trusted psychologist or counsellor, as they can give you coping techniques. If you don’t have one already, ask your medical team if they refer you to one – many clinics have oncology-psychologists.
If you are seeing a psychologist privately, check if you can receive a rebate from your private health insurance cover (benefits depend on your provider and level of insurance).
Another way to reduce the financial burden, is by utilising Medicare’s Mental Health Treatment Plan. You may be able to get sessions bulk billed, or at least a reduced gap payment. Discuss the referral process with your GP and preferred provider.
Crisis and telephone helplines
- Triple Zero: call 000
- Suicide Call Back Service 24/7: call 1300 659 467, or online chat
- Lifeline: call 13 11 14 or online chat
- Beyond Blue: call 1300 22 4636 or online chat
- Kids Helpline (up to 25yo): call 1800 55 1800, or online chat
- MensLine Australia: call 1300 78 99 78 or online chat
Mental health services
- Cancer Council: call 13 11 20
- Australian Psychology Society
- Headspace: for people up to 25yo, but good resources online
- Head to Health: resources from the Australian Government
- Allevi8: free meditation app and weekly online sessions
- Breethe: paid app with some free meditations
- Cancer Council: finding calm during cancer podcasts and meditations
- Headspace: online meditations and app
- Smiling Mind free app
- Sock it to Sarcoma: guided meditations (can be used by any cancer type)