People with chronic mental health or psychiatric concerns

People with chronic mental health or psychiatric concerns

A diagnosis of cancer may present additional challenges to people who have pre-existing chronic mental health or psychiatric concerns, resulting in exacerbation of their mental health symptoms. This may include heightened anxiety, worsening depression or thoughts of self-harm.

As poor adjustment and coping can affect treatment decisions, people who are known to have a mental health diagnosis need psychosocial assessment in the oncology setting to formulate a plan for ongoing support throughout treatment.

Psychosocial support can assist with challenges in communicating with health professionals, enhance understanding of the treatment journey, ensure capacity for consent to treatment options and improve compliance with treatment requests. A referral for psychosocial support from a health professional to the psycho-oncology team can ensure these patients are provided with targeted interventions or referrals to community-based services that may mitigate problems associated with the impacts of social isolation that frequently accompany chronic mental ill-health.

Many patients with chronic mental health problems may be well known to external service providers. Psycho-oncology health professionals can form meaningful partnerships with existing service providers to optimise patient care throughout treatment and beyond.

Drug use disorders fall within the area of mental health conditions. People who are opiate dependent may have specific and individual requirements regarding pain management and their own preference for type of opiate prescribed or used.