Grief Counseling for Mesothelioma Patients
Fortunately, there are a number of mesothelioma grief counseling options.
Finding appropriate grief counseling for mesothelioma patients can be a matter of understanding which symptoms of grief the patient is experiencing.
Some common symptoms of grief include:
- Desire to talk
- Emotional numbness
- Poor concentration or forgetfulness
While undergoing treatment, grief counseling for mesothelioma patients can be critical. With proper support, patients tend to have a more positive emotional outlook.
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The following mesothelioma grief counseling options may significantly improve a patient’s quality of life.
Grief with any cancer diagnosis is common and can feel like an emotional roller coaster.
During treatment, the loss that a patient experiences can be physical, such as hair loss or extreme weight loss. Grief can also be emotional, such as losing one’s independence.
Many mesothelioma patients also suffer losses that include:
- Becoming unable to work
- Being unable to engage in normal activities
- Having major financial burdens due to treatment
Because so many losses occur throughout the diagnosis and treatment processes, grief counseling for mesothelioma patients can become necessary.
Oncology Social Workers
After diagnosis, doctors may refer mesothelioma patients to a social worker who is often part of the patient’s care team. Social workers help determine whether distress is psychosocial or related to practical problems.
Psychosocial problems experienced by cancer patients may include:
- Difficulty adjusting to their diagnosis
- Social isolation
- Family conflict
- Communication issues
- Difficulty making decisions on future medical care
- End-of-life issues
On the other hand, a patient’s distress may be related to practical problems, such as daily needs like food and clothing.
Practical problems experienced by cancer patients may include:
- Concerns over how to get to treatment, where to stay for overnight hospital visits, etc.
- Financial concerns
- Job concerns
- Food preparation and costs
- Assistance with daily activities
- Locating help for family members and caregivers
Oncology social workers tend to know a great deal about mesothelioma grief counseling resources in the community. They can inform mesothelioma patients of nearby resources to help them cope with these psychosocial and practical issues.
Mental Health Services
Grief counseling for mesothelioma patients may be more clinical in nature than what social workers can typically offer.
In these instances, mental health services provided by psychologists, psychiatric nurses, psychiatric social workers, or psychiatrists may be needed to help mesothelioma patients cope.
Some problems mesothelioma patients may experience that would be best handled by a mental health professional include:
- Major depression
- Panic attacks
- Personality disorders
- Substance abuse
Mental health professionals start by helping mesothelioma patients figure out what has worked well for them in the past, in terms of mental health issues. They also help patients strengthen existing coping skills and understand how past problems may be making it more difficult to deal with a mesothelioma diagnosis.
When faced with end-of-life concerns, many patients prefer talking with a person from a spiritual group instead of or in addition to seeking mesothelioma grief counseling.
Pastoral services can be especially important when a diagnosis leads to a crisis of faith. Some patients may wonder why they got cancer or feel like they are being punished or abandoned by a higher power.
In these cases, pastoral services may be more appropriate than mesothelioma grief counseling by helping patients sort through these questions. Fortunately, it is common for clergy to have training in helping people with cancer.