Mesothelioma Grief Counseling

Receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis can cause you to experience a wide range of emotions, from denial and anger to grief and anxiety. Mesothelioma grief counseling can help mesothelioma patients and their families manage the emotions associated with this cancer. We can help veterans and their loved ones get the support they need during these difficult times.

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About Grief Counseling for Mesothelioma

A teenage girl comforts her older mother, who is crying

U.S. veterans fighting mesothelioma deserve grief counseling if they desire it following a diagnosis.

Mesothelioma grief counselors are trained psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals. They help mesothelioma patients understand and process their feelings as they undergo cancer treatments.

Besides assisting mesothelioma patients, grief counselors can also help patients’ family members and close friends process their grief and become better caregivers.

Find support options following a mesothelioma diagnosis in our Free Veterans Packet.

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Processing Grief and Mesothelioma

When someone receives a mesothelioma cancer diagnosis, it is normal for them to experience a wide range of feelings. In particular, grief is one of the most common mental effects of mesothelioma.

Many cancer patients experience complicated grief, a type of grief that involves debilitating feelings of loss that don’t improve even after time passes.

The main stages of grief are:

  1. Anger: The person may feel angry because mesothelioma is fatal, and its treatment options can tax the body.
  2. Bargaining: After the anger has passed, the patient may ask themselves why they developed mesothelioma. They may also wonder if they had done something to deserve this condition and whether anything can be done to reverse it.
  3. Depression: This stage happens when the patient accepts the mesothelioma diagnosis. They may experience frequent crying, decreased appetite, and sleep disturbances.
  4. Acceptance: The patient has processed their grief and is ready to face living with mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma patients may not experience complicated grief phases in order. They may skip or move in and out of stages at different times.

There is no ‘correct’ way to experience grief, but counseling can help people with mesothelioma cope with these complicated emotions and learn to process them.

Types of Mesothelioma Grief Counseling

There are several types of mesothelioma grief counselors. Which one will be right for you depends on your needs and goals with counseling.

Here are the main types of counselors who address grief and mesothelioma.

Licensed Grief Counselors and Mental Health Professionals

Licensed grief counselors and mental health professionals can help patients deal with their complicated grief and other symptoms.

A licensed grief counselor may help you:

  • Accept a mesothelioma diagnosis
  • Express feelings and thoughts about the diagnosis and what it may mean
  • Avoid suppressing emotions, which can cause emotional and physical harm
  • Overcome guilt, as some patients may believe that they could have stopped or limited the asbestos exposure that caused them to get sick

Mesothelioma Grief Support Groups

Cancer support groups connect patients with people who are having similar experiences. This will make the patient feel less alone in their mesothelioma battle and help them to understand their struggles.

Mesothelioma patients can choose between over-the-phone, online, and in-person support groups. There are also grief support groups for family members and caregivers.

We’re here to support you.

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center has seen how this cancer impacts patients and their families firsthand. Call (877) 450-8973 to get started.

Telehealth/Online Grief Counseling

Telehealth and online grief counseling services can also help patients process their complicated grief. These are a great choice for patients who prefer to stay at home due to emotional or physical limitations.

These mesothelioma therapy services are delivered and facilitated through mobile health apps, live video conferencing, and remote patient monitoring (RPM).

Specialized Social Workers

After receiving their diagnosis, the patient’s mesothelioma care team may refer them to a specialized oncology social worker.

These social workers help cancer patients receive mental health counseling, find useful resources in their area, and access financial aid.

Resources may include connections for financial assistance, long-term planning, legal advice, and more.

Faith-Based Services

Mesothelioma patients may have a tough time processing why they developed mesothelioma cancer. Faith-based services can help them understand their spiritual questions and emotions.

If you are interested in receiving faith-based services, contact your place of worship to see what resources are available. Many clergy members have received training for helping cancer patients.

Mesothelioma Grief Counseling for Loved Ones

A mesothelioma diagnosis is just as life-changing for close family members and friends as it is for the patient. That’s why grief counseling is equally important for loved ones and mesothelioma caregivers.

Processing Grief While Caring for a Loved One With Mesothelioma

If you are caring for someone with mesothelioma, you may need to make lifestyle adjustments. For example, you may need to work fewer days to take care of your loved one. Caregiving in and of itself can also be a challenge.

Did You Know?

Talking to a counselor can help you deal with the emotions that come with these lifestyle changes and any difficulties you encounter while caregiving.

A counselor can also help you develop healthy coping mechanisms and become a better caregiver.

Grief Counseling for Children of Mesothelioma Patients

Counselors can also help grieving children cope with a mesothelioma diagnosis or the death of a loved one.

Through counseling, children can understand what they’re thinking and label their feelings. A counselor can also help family members explain to children events that may happen, such as treatments and death.

Get emotional, medical, and financial help following a mesothelioma diagnosis — learn more in our Free Veterans Packet.

Mesothelioma Veterans Guide
Get a FREE Veterans Packet

Get information on:

  • Top Treatments
  • Best Doctors
  • Improving Prognosis

Get a Free Veterans Packet

Tips for Supporting a Mesothelioma Caregiver

Caring for a mesothelioma patient can be draining and painful. It’s important to support those who are caring for someone with mesothelioma.

You can do so by:

  • Helping with insurance and financial issues: Caregivers may not have the time or energy to handle insurance and financial problems. If you’re a close family member or trusted friend, they may ask you to help with these.
  • Learning about the patient’s condition: By educating yourself about mesothelioma, you can provide better emotional support for caregivers.
  • Offering to help or give them a rest: Caregivers often don’t have enough time for themselves when taking care of a cancer patient. This is especially true if the patient has late-stage mesothelioma or is recovering from major treatments like surgery or chemotherapy.

If a patient has passed away, support family and caregivers by:

  • Allowing them to open up: People who are grieving often feel lonely. Be a good listener and respect their way of grieving. You should let them know that you will check in often and that you are always there to help them.
  • Helping with practical tasks: A grieving person may be glad to get help with activities like meal preparation, grocery shopping, laundry, making phone calls, babysitting or petsitting, and so on.
  • Not giving advice: It is best to avoid making suggestions about what the grieving person should or should not do. This type of advice is usually well-meant but may make the grieving person feel worse.

Benefits of Grief Counseling for Mesothelioma Patients & Loved Ones

Grief counseling for mesothelioma patients and their loved ones offers many benefits.

These benefits include:

  • A safe space to express feelings: Grief counselors and other mental health professionals in mesothelioma supportive therapy are trained to be non-judgmental, active listeners. As such, patients and their family members can honestly express their feelings without worrying about what they may think of them.
  • Better coping mechanisms: Grief counseling can teach mesothelioma patients and their loved ones better coping mechanisms for negative emotions.
  • Permission to focus on themselves: Patients and their families may be so busy with trying to find mesothelioma treatment or healing that they don’t have time to process their emotions. Grief counseling empowers patients and their families to focus on their emotions.

Contact us to get help dealing with mesothelioma grief. Our caring Patient Advocates and nursing support staff are standing by.

When to Seek Help for Mesothelioma Grief

man in military attire being comforted in a group grief counseling session

You should seek health for mesothelioma grief as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely you will dwell on negative emotions. This, in turn, can lead to the development of unhealthy coping mechanisms, communication patterns, and lifestyle choices.

Seeking help is also important for caregivers and should be done as soon as possible to aid in the grieving process, from the initial diagnosis to helping make your loved one as comfortable as possible in the time they have left.

Reach Out for Support After a Mesothelioma Diagnosis

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, reach out to a grief counselor for support.

One of the best ways to find help after a cancer diagnosis is through the Mesothelioma Veterans Center. Since 2015, thousands of veterans and civilians with mesothelioma have connected with top doctors, caring nursing support staff, VA benefits, and medical treatment thanks to our team.

Learn about all the ways we assist mesothelioma patients like you in our Free Veterans Packet now.

Mesothelioma Grief Counseling FAQs

Is mesothelioma grief a form of depression?

No, grief following a mesothelioma diagnosis is different from depression. Grief includes positive memories and associations, while depression is a severe mental condition that persistently and negatively affects daily life.

An experienced grief counselor can provide coping mechanisms and support if you have grief and/or depression in the midst of a mesothelioma diagnosis.

Where can I find grief counseling for mesothelioma?

Many organizations offer grief counseling resources for mesothelioma, like the American Cancer Society, CancerCare, and the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation.

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center’s compassionate team can help you if you’re unsure where to start. Call our advocacy team at (877) 450-8973 today to learn more about your options.

How long does it take to move through the stages of mesothelioma grief?

There is no standard time frame for experiencing feelings of grief following a mesothelioma diagnosis. Be kind to yourself as you grieve, and don’t suppress your feelings.

Is mesothelioma grief ever dangerous?

Yes. Complicated grief can sometimes be dangerous.

Symptoms of complicated grief may include:

  • Depression, guilt, deep sadness, and self-blame
  • Feeling life isn’t worth living if you or a loved one has mesothelioma or died of it
  • Trouble carrying out normal routines

Fortunately, a mesothelioma grief counselor can help you work through these feelings and manage them following a cancer diagnosis.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

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