We recently conducted a Family Needs Survey that aimed to measure the needs of families facing childhood cancer.
We surveyed almost 4,000 families who received support from Redkite over the last decade. This research has found there is a significant gap in mental health and emotional support for parents and their children, particularly at the end of cancer treatment and beyond.
Currently, there are 11,000 mums, dads, sons and daughters in the community who don’t have the support they need to manage their mental health and wellbeing after they leave the hospital. 75% of families told us that they need better support to cope with anxiety and fears around their child relapsing. 70% of families needed support to manage their family’s longer term emotional and mental health needs. Over half of the families reported needs around connection to other families going through a similar experience.
The majority of parents were worried about their children’s mental health. 69% of families we surveyed said they needed more help with their child’s emotional and mental health after their cancer treatment ended. One family told us their child had PTSD symptoms after leaving hospital, others talked about kids having nightmares or anxiety after what they had been through.
We also learned that during bereavement, 59% of families said siblings needed more support to cope with the grief and loss.
Although those stories were heartbreaking to hear, they mean we can change how we work to make sure every family has support, right when they need it. Childhood cancer is a complex trauma that impacts the whole family long after treatment ends.
A key initiative to respond to the growing demand and needs of the children and families, is the launch of cancer-specific child counselling services that will benefit both diagnosed children and their siblings.
This expansion of our services could not have happened without your ongoing support. Thank you!