Palliative Care NSW Volunteer Support Services Programme
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Support for young people whose lives have been affected by cancer

CanTeen supports young people aged 12-24 who have cancer themselves, have a parent or sibling with cancer or a parent or sibling that has died of cancer.

Measuring the expressed needs (and interpreting the levels of distress) of young people using their services is a deliberate and successful part of the work done by Canteen.  According to research undertaken by CanTeen, “high levels of distress are reported by 9% of the adolescent population, but when you add to that a cancer experience, this figure jumps to 63%”, said Cassandra Sena, Counsellor with the Sydney-based Canteen team. Providing psycho-social support, working with bereavement, developing resource materials, and proactively following-up services users are all features of their support model.

CanTeen camps and recreation days give young people a space away from the daily pressures of living with cancer. They can meet other young people affected by cancer who really understand what they’re going through and learn new ways to cope with cancer. CanTeen holds camps for all experiences of cancer and also grief specific programs. “Camps are a lot of fun – but they are also about young people making connections with one another. Young people have the opportunity to creatively express themselves in their own special way” said Jerushah who is a Psychosocial Support Worker with CanTeen.

CanTeen’s counselling line (1800 835 932) is open Monday – Friday 10am- 10pm and weekends 11am-6pm. Their online platform also hosts forums for young people to connect online with one another or chat live with a counsellor.

Jerushah Connell, Psychosocial Support Worker with Canteen’s Sydney and Central NSW team is speaking with the NSW Network of Managers of Palliative Care Volunteer Services at their March meeting. For more information on Canteen and to download their resources go to For more information on the Network or about the March meeting please email us.

Pic: Cassandra Sena (L) and Jerushah Connell from Canteen

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