PSYCHOLOGICAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORT
The diagnosis of a child with cancer strikes a hard emotional and psychological blow on the entire family. Parents turn first to their family and friends, people who care for them and try to understand what they are feeling. Another source of emotional support can be other parents of children with cancer, either in face-to-face local groups or on the internet. Other parents of children with cancer are going through (or have gone through) the same ordeals and understand what newly diagnosed parents feel. Sometimes family, friends, and support groups are not enough, and parents decide to seek professional help.
LOCAL FACE-TO-FACE SUPPORT GROUPS
Local Candlelighters/ ACCO Affiliates work with many pediatric oncology units. Candlelighters/ ACCO groups offer many services, as well as a hand to hold, an ear to listen when you need to talk to someone who understands.
Your social worker at the hospital or clinic is another good source of information on support groups in your community.
ONLINE SUPPORT GROUPS
Online support groups offer the advantage that you do not have to leave your home to “talk” to other parents of children with cancer. Many childhood cancer online support groups exist, some specific for a particular cancer, some specific to a type of cancer.
Find an online support group by following this link: Online support groups
Many parents find it helpful to seek out mental health care professionals to help them explore the difficult feelings (fear, anger, depression, anxiety, resentment, guilt) that cancer arouses. The links below provide some help for you in your decision as to whether or not you would benefit from professional counseling. Help is provided by professionals with different levels of training: psychotherapists, psychologists, social workers, pastoral care, psychiatrists (MDs), or counselors.