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Author: Greater Charitable Foundation

Parents with cancer find new support in the Hunter region

A new support service for parents with cancer is being launched by CanTeen in the Hunter Region, thanks to support from the Greater Charitable Foundation.

The Family Support Project aims to improve the wellbeing of the entire family when a parent has cancer by focusing on clear communication and stronger family relationships during one of life’s toughest challenges.

CanTeen research shows that young people dealing with a parent’s cancer are up to six-times more likely to face mental health issues like depression and anxiety than their unaffected peers.

Peter Orchard, CanTeen CEO, says that supporting parents with cancer helps them to both cope and improves the mental health and wellbeing of the entire family.

“This is particularly vital for young people aged 12-25, who we know feel the stresses attached with a parent’s cancer very keenly and often for sustained periods,” he said.

The project will enable greater communication and resilience within families via:

1. A fulltime social worker to support parents with cancer in the Hunter New England Local Health District, accessible at John Hunter Hospital. This parent social worker will also enable referral services to CanTeen’s Newcastle office for young people dealing with a parent’s cancer, including CanTeen’s Online Support Platform where young people can access counselling and peer support 24/7.

2. A study to further explore the impact of cancer on family dynamics and identify additional support options.

3. An information guide designed specifically for parents, based on these study findings and parent social worker insights, to help them talk to their family about cancer and act as a companion throughout their experience.

Greater Charitable Foundation CEO, Anne Long, said the project will directly support families in the Hunter and resonates with the Foundation’s core focus of improving life outcomes.

“A family unit in distress due to cancer is a huge challenge, which is why the project focuses on improving skills – and particularly those around coping and resilience – that will enable both parents and young people to create a solid foundation to face whatever future awaits them after cancer,” she said.

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