Cancer diagnosis can impact mental health

R U OK? Day is held on the second Thursday of September as a suicide prevention initiative that was founded by the late Gavin Larkin, who died of cancer at the age of 42.

The former advertising executive created a national day of awareness with the aim to combat depression and suicide, by encouraging others to check on the welfare of friends.

Mr Larkin’s legacy lives on and now R U OK? Day has shined a light on suicide and mental health more broadly.

Serious illness can impact mental health.

Cancer brings with it a number of challenges and strong emotions, for the person diagnosed as well as those around them.

Cancer treatment takes time and at points can be demanding. There are periods of waiting and uncertainty.

Experiencing a range of emotions is normal and everyone will cope differently. Sometimes you can put on a brave face and other times you may find talking to someone is helpful.

A critical part of Cancer Council Queensland’s work is providing information and support to families impacted by cancer. Our 13 11 20 phone number is accessible to all Queenslanders impacted by cancer and acts as a link into our other cancer services and information, including counselling. Last year alone, 13 11 20 responded to 7855 contacts.

This R U OK? Day Cancer Council Queensland encourages those who have been affected by a cancer diagnosis to call 13 11 20 for support and the wider community to reach out to loved ones who are facing challenging times.

We can all make a difference in the lives of those who might be struggling by having regular, meaningful conversations about life’s ups and downs.

If you’re worried about someone and feel they need professional support, encourage them to connect with a trusted health professional like their GP.

For 24-hour crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.