World Cancer Day 2021

Much has changed in the past 12 months, yet the feelings of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression felt by many affected by cancer has only increased. Lockdowns and high tier systems have thrown cancer care into turmoil and many are struggling to cope with their mental wellbeing, these are the conversations we are having every day at Cancer Support Scotland.

World Cancer Day 2019 ‘I am Cancer Support Scotland, and I will be here to support the mental health of anyone affected by cancer across Scotland’.

World Cancer Day 2020 ‘We call on the Scottish Government to put the mental wellbeing of those affected by cancer at the heart of their cancer strategy’.

World Cancer Day 2021 ‘Together our actions matter, and we will remain as focused tomorrow on supporting the mental health of anyone affected by cancer as we are today and ensure we are #HereForYourWellbeing’

As we reflect back on the 3 year ‘I am I will’ campaign around World Cancer Day we know we are never more needed and are making a real difference to the mental health of those affected by cancer.

COVID has disproportionately affected the lives people coping with cancer: cancer referrals plummeting; treatment plans being changed or delayed; clinical trials paused; facing extended periods of acute loneliness and isolation through shielding. Many of those with loved ones receiving end of life care have been unable to spend final weeks, months, or even moments together. These experiences have real consequences for the mental wellbeing of every person affected. Our aim and our actions remain to ensure access to mental wellbeing support is available to all who need it, when they need it and in a way that works for them. During the period March -December 2020 we saw a 30% increase in people receiving a counselling appointment compared to the year before. This highlights the devastation the pandemic is having on mental health and wellbeing.

We ask you to come together and support each other. Take time out of your day to either:

  • Call three people you know and have a talk with them about how they are doing
  • Access our self-help guides to improve your wellbeing
  • If you can please donate £36 to help fund a counselling appointment for someone

It’s important this World Cancer Day we raise awareness of the importance in parity of care between physical and mental health. In 21st Century Scotland, we need a forward thinking approach to ensuring mental health services for those affected by cancer are fully funded and not an afterthought.

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