Contribute to a document on dealing with COVID + cancer


Dear Canteen community,

We are living in difficult times with the COVID-19 virus. Our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits might be feeling all over the place. Your daily life might be very disrupted. We get it. Please know that Canteen is here to support you and your family – you can contact the counselling team on or by clicking the orange ‘chat to a counsellor’ button in the left hand corner. Counsellors are here Mon-Fri 10am to 10pm and 11am to 6pm on weekends (AEST). Of course you can also contact your keyworker from your local Canteen office. Canteen is still ‘open’, but via phone, webchat and video (Zoom).

We would like to invite you to contribute to a document on ‘coping with COVID-19’. Lately, we have heard from some young people that already have useful skills in coping with what’s happening now because of their cancer experience. Have a read of the suggestions and questions below, and if you’d like to contribute, please feel free to comment (or send your response to us at If you could write a few lines in full sentences, that would be helpful for those reading it later! You can also share a story as your 'answer' to these questions. This document will be shared with Canteen families (and beyond!) to people who need guidance on coping with these times.

Being in isolation

• Did you have a period during your/your family member’s cancer treatment where you had to take steps to protect a compromised immune system? What did you do? Why? What was important to you?

• Who helped you take steps to keep well? What did they do/not do that was helpful?

• What does health mean to you? How did you take care of your mental health while protecting your physical health?

• Did you learn something that made you live differently afterwards? 

Keeping Loneliness at bay and building community

• How could you tell when Loneliness was showing up? What did you and others do to keep it at bay?

• How did you stay in touch with loved ones? 

• What did it mean to you to receive contact from others? What do you think it meant to others to receive contact from you? 

• How did you make new connections and build community when you couldn’t always meet up with people physically? Did you find new friendships in unexpected places?

Dealing with Uncertainty

• What is Uncertainty like? What shape, or colour, or character does it have?

• What did you do when you felt Uncertainty invite itself into your day?

• What could Uncertainty see you or others doing that made it weaker? Or stronger?

• What tricks does Uncertainty have? How did you outsmart them?

Staying at home superpowers

• When you had to stay at home more often because of cancer, what did you do to make yourself feel better?

• What did you learn is better not to do when at home for long periods of time?

• How did you find new ways to keep busy or have fun? Did a loved one teach you something new?