Thursday 26th July 2018
Here at Teenage Cancer Trust, we know that the overwhelming majority of teenagers and young adults with cancer can suffer from mental health issues as a direct result of having cancer.
We are extremely disappointed with the Government's response to the public consultation on new proposals for Children and Young People's Mental Health.
The Government's response makes no reference to the specific needs of young people managing a cancer diagnosis, nor does it explain how school-based solutions will help young cancer patients who are not attending schools.
The Government acknowledges that respondents, such as the response submitted by Teenage Cancer Trust, highlighted that not all young people would access mental health support through schools. But the plans forget young people with cancer, as well as young people with long term physical health conditions more widely.
The Government notes itself that 12% of young people have a long term health condition, but they have not addressed the way in which these proposals can meet their needs. The Government should commit to having one of its trailblazer areas test how their plans can provide for the specific needs of young people with cancer.
Our research showed that 8 in 10 young people with cancer found the mental health impact of a diagnosis as difficult as the physical side. Half of the young people with cancer who we surveyed did not get access to a counsellor and receive the psychological they need.
Sasha Daly, Interim Deputy Director for Policy and Awareness, said:
Young people with cancer have a specific set of mental health needs that accompany a diagnosis, such as effects on body image, confidence, depression. They will also often not be in school, which is where the Government is focusing much of its attention. These proposals do nothing to help young people with cancer and the specific needs that a diagnosis can bring.