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Support That Goes Beyond the Physical: Cancer’s Impact on Mental Health

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A virtual care network seeks to combine physical and mental health supports creating a comprehensive care approach for cancer patients and their families.

In Canada, cancer remains the leading cause of death. Forty per cent of Canadians will be diagnosed with some form of the disease in their lifetime and one in four will die from it. Cancer has become one of humanity’s most notorious health threats, and as diagnoses continue to grow, finding ways to combat the symptoms that come along with a cancer diagnosis is paramount. 

The complexities of care

The complexities of a cancer diagnosis go far beyond the physical manifestations. The mental health impacts that can develop throughout the cancer journey can be just as disruptive as the disease itself, both for the individual suffering and their loved ones. At its core, cancer can be an incredibly isolating experience. From the anxiety that comes with a diagnosis to the depression that can be present throughout treatment, the mental health impacts of the disease can be some of the most difficult to navigate. Finding support that not only considers the physical effects but also the invisible ones has never been more important. 

For more than 15 years, Carepath has worked to provide comprehensive and personalized support for Canadians dealing with illnesses or health crises — and it all began after recognizing the gaps in the system when it came to many Canadians’ cancer experiences. Now a leader in virtual care, the organization helps to guide members as they navigate the health care system, championing patient advocacy and working with them from initial diagnosis through to resolution. Encompassing everything from chronic health conditions through to mental health concerns, Carepath’s support has grown from its foundational Cancer Assistance program to encompass all types of health conditions and associated issues, but cancer continues to be an integral focus. 

Cultivating a healing environment

For those going through a cancer diagnosis, Carepath is especially cognizant of the many elements and struggles that the experience entails, both physical and mental. The organization’s mental health program was created with this in mind. While the program supports those experiencing mental health struggles not associated with physical health conditions, it also considers the need for support targeted at those experiencing mental health impacts resulting from a cancer diagnosis. Coupled with its flagship Cancer Assistance program, Carepath’s virtual care network is uniquely positioned to provide comprehensive support for patients, considering specific needs and meeting an individual wherever they may be throughout each stage of their journey. 

Cancer isn’t an individual experience. A cancer diagnosis directly impacts a family unit and the mental health effects can transcend beyond the patient. Having support that takes this into account, and offering help not only for the individual experiencing the disease but also for the loved ones who walk alongside them during the journey, is vital in creating an environment that’s conducive to healing. Designed to promote prevention and early intervention, Carepath’s mental health program understands the very present mental health risks for a patient’s loved ones and offers customized support for individuals, couples, and families.  

The benefits of reaching out

Accessing support shouldn’t be an added worry for anyone going through a health crisis. Carepath is available as a group benefit and has worked with employers across the country to create customized plans for over a million Canadians. Through the organization’s mental health support, individuals can lean on counselling services. Members experiencing cancer can also receive personalized disease-focused support, access to the service’s Nurse Case Managers, and insights from the oncology Medical Advisory Board, which is made up of some of Canada’s most accomplished cancer care specialists. 

For more information about Carepath and the services available, or to inquire about making the virtual network a part of your employee benefits package, visit carepath.ca

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