A free and confidential counselling service for young people living with cancer or who have lost a loved one to cancer is set to significantly expand after an additional $1 million grant was awarded to CanTeen by nib foundation.
The funding enables the youth cancer charity to offer its counselling service to more young people in more locations across Australia as well as online and over the phone.
“Every year another 23,000 young people have to face the challenge of cancer – whether it’s their own diagnosis or that of a parent, brother or sister,” said CanTeen CEO Peter Orchard.
“Young people living with cancer are at much higher risk of mental health issues than their friends, because a cancer diagnosis turns their life upside down and can leave them feeling vulnerable, frightened, confused and alone.
“That’s why the CanTeen Counselling Service is so important and we’re delighted to see it expand so that we can provide essential support to more young people,” he said.
The CanTeen Counselling Service gives young people aged 12-24 the chance to discuss their thoughts and feelings as well as develop practical coping skills to deal with issues related to work and education, home life and relationships with friends or partners.
The expansion of the service follows the success of a pilot program aimed at young people affected by parental cancer, which was funded by a 2010 $1.5 million nib foundation grant.
The $1 million grant from nib foundation will enable CanTeen to:
- expand the Counselling Service to support all young people living with cancer
- provide 6,000 counselling sessions over the next two years
- establish a new face-to-face counselling service in Western Australia
- “Our specially trained counsellors offer tailored support to help every young person overcome the obstacles that cancer is placing in their way,” Mr Orchard said.
“Young people who have used our counselling service are less sad and anxious, feel more hopeful and better equipped to deal with their situation.
“Thanks to this grant from nib foundation, we can help hundreds more young people every year and ensure that they don’t have to face cancer alone,” Mr Orchard said.
nib foundation Chairman, Keith Lynch, said the pilot program had already made a demonstrable difference to the health and wellbeing of young people confronted by cancer.
“To date the program has already conducted more than 2,000 counselling sessions and we are delighted to help CanTeen continue this great work and improve the wellbeing, resilience and coping mechanisms of these young people,” he said.