Macmillan Cancer Support

Macmillan Cancer Support - Free Specialist Counselling

Free Specialist Counselling

Through Bupa, Macmillan are offering up to four counselling sessions, free for people struggling emotionally because of cancer.

Within days, people who are eligible can receive specialist, remote support.

What is Bupa counselling?

In partnership with Bupa,Macmillan are offering up to four sessions of free one-on-one counselling to people living with cancer. These sessions will be led by a qualified therapist, and could help you understand, manage and overcome difficult feelings you may be experiencing right now.  

How could Bupa counselling help me?

The service could help improve your quality of life by:

  • providing personalised support that is tailored to your circumstances
  • reducing the sense of fear, anxiety and/or depression that you might be feeling
  • improving how you cope emotionally with living with cancer or after cancer
  • helping you feel empowered to manage your own emotions
  • increasing your confidence and motivation.

Who are the Bupa therapists?

Bupa’s qualified therapists are:

  • mental health practitioners
  • experienced at supporting a wide range of people in vulnerable situations
  • screened and supervised by Bupa’s lead Clinical Psychologist and a BACP Accredited Counsellor.

Please note, Bupa’s qualified therapists are not experts in cancer and its treatment. For specialist cancer information, you should speak to a Cancer Information Nurse Specialist on the Macmillan Support Line.

Am I eligible for Bupa counselling?

To access the service, you should be:

  • a person living with cancer
  • 18 years old or over
  • struggling emotionally because of cancer
  • feeling that your biggest current need is mental well-being/emotional support in relation to your cancer diagnosis
  • mentally, physically and socially able to engage in the counselling process
  • not currently receiving therapy, help or intervention elsewhere for mental health needs
  • feeling that your usual daily functioning is being affected by your emotions
  • expressing or describing symptoms of anxiety, depression and/or irritability
  • struggling to cope and finding that things in life are becoming increasingly difficult.

You should not be: 

  • receiving therapy, help or support elsewhere for mental health needs
  • looking for counselling in relation to mental health needs separate to the impact from your cancer diagnosis
  • in severe crisis or having suicidal thoughts 
  • currently in hospital as an inpatient.

If you are in crisis, we will not be able to get help to you immediately using this service. Instead, please call the Macmillan Support line on 0808 808 00 00 (between 8am and 8pm daily) or call Emergency Services on 999 or the Samaritans on 116 123  at any time of the day or night.

Our counselling service in partnership with Bupa is available to anyone in the UK who is living with cancer, 18+, regardless of disability, gender identity, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion and belief. We want everyone to be able to access this service, so please let us know if there is anything we can do to support you with this.

Wellbeing Assessment process

The Bupa Support Team will conduct a Wellbeing Assessment to better understand what emotional support may be beneficial for you. This will involve Bupa contacting you by phone and completing the assessment during that call. The Wellbeing Assessment will take up to 50 minutes to complete. Please ensure you are in a private space, and not driving when you speak to the practitioner.

The outcome of this assessment could be either: 

  • up to four free counselling sessions (via phone or video call)
  • a referral for one-off emotional support session (via phone or video call, for up to one hour)
  • signposting back to Macmillan, your GP or the NHS.

If you are referred for counselling after the assessment, it will be carried out by a trained practitioner who is employed by Bupa or by their partner organisation. You will be asked for your consent to your details being transferred to the counsellor during your assessment appointment.

Macmillan will fund the Wellbeing Assessments and counselling sessions facilitated by the Bupa support team. Please note, if you do not engage with the Bupa Support Team during any stage of the process, Macmillan will be notified via secure email.

What will happen once I'm referred?

Once you book the appointment, a member of the Bupa Support Team will be in touch within five working days to conduct the Wellbeing Assessment.

If you are unsure if this service is appropriate for you or would like to talk to someone about the service please contact the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (from 8am-8pm).

How to get connected with Macmillan Cancer Support - Free Specialist Counselling

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Phone Number:

0808 808 00 00

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