4 Tips for Managing Your Mental Health During Mesothelioma Treatment
Nicole Winch | November 19, 2019
A cancer diagnosis has a heavy impact on the life of the patient and their loved ones. If you or a loved one has mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure, you may find yourself overwhelmed and feeling anxious, fearful or depressed. It’s important to know that these feelings are common, but they shouldn’t be dismissed. While you’re focused on healing your body, you should also be mindful of your mental health.
We at BCBH Law care about the physical and mental health of all mesothelioma patients. We compiled a list of four tips to help ease your mind during treatment.
Get a Mental Health Assessment
A health professional, whether it’s your doctor or a psychiatrist, can determine if you have a mental health condition. They will ask about your previous health history and any symptoms that you currently have.
Patients might be unaware that they have developed a mental health condition, and this can lead to a lack of treatment or worsening conditions. According to a study published on the Psycho-Oncology website, between 8 percent and 24 percent of people with cancer also developed depression. Getting a better understanding of where you are mentally can help you get the treatment you need.
Join a Support Group
If you are ready to share your emotions in a more public setting, then a support group can benefit you. Support groups give you a chance to open up about any challenges you might be facing and help you feel like you’re not alone. You can even opt for a group specific to mesothelioma. Either way, you will find comfort knowing there are other people willing to share stories and experiences similar to your own.
Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Staying active and eating a balanced diet can not only help you feel better physically but can also improve your mental health. When you exercise, your body naturally releases a chemical in the brain called endorphins, these chemicals are what create that “feel-good” feeling.
Treatment can certainly take a toll on the body, so the types of exercises you will be able to perform will vary. You can start small by just getting up and taking a walk. According to a study done by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, even just 15 minutes a day of walking can reduce your chances of developing depression by 26 percent.
Talk About Your Feelings
Expressing your feelings is an important step in managing your mental health. Accepting what’s going on may not be easy, but bottling up your emotions can do more harm than good. Find someone you feel comfortable talking with and discuss what’s on your mind. You may find that talking about what you’re going through is a lot easier than pretending everything is OK.
Your cancer care provider can be a great person to rely on for speaking about your mental health. They can connect you to a therapist or even start you on a treatment plan themselves.
If you’ve taken legal action for your mesothelioma diagnosis, then the lawyer handling your case can also help. We at BCBH Law often speak with our clients about the psychological effects of mesothelioma. We have referred many victims to trusted and experienced mental health professionals.
- Why Mental Health Screenings Should Be a Regular Part of Cancer Care. Mental Health America. Retrieved from: https://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/blog/why-mental-health-screenings-should-be-regular-part-cancer-care. Accessed: 07/09/19.
- Prevalence of depression in cancer patients: a meta-analysis of diagnostic interviews and self-report instruments. Psycho-Oncology via the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4282549/. Accessed: 07/09/19.
- More evidence that exercise can boost mood. Harvard Health Publishing via Harvard Medical School. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/more-evidence-that-exercise-can-boost-mood. Accessed: 07/09/19.
- 5 Things Cancer Survivors Should Know About Their Mental Health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: https://blogs.cdc.gov/cancer/2018/05/17/cancer-survivors-mental-health/. Accessed: 07/09/19.