Building your community of support

An emotional support community consists of trusted individuals and groups you can depend on for an empathetic ear, a feeling of safety, shared experiences, or professional guidance for managing different responses, such as anxiety or depression.   

A big part of your support community is you! For instance, when you need quiet time, saying no to visitors is a powerful thing you can do for yourself. In the same way, getting support from others often begins with you reaching out to ask.

Explore the different support resources you can add to your team, starting with the most important person of all – you. Learn about:

Ways you can help yourself emotionally

  • Self-care strategies: writing in a journal, getting enough sleep, trying complementary therapies such as yoga and meditation, and more
  • Participating in a support group, nonprofit community program, or peer support match program
  • Letting your care team know how you’re feeling

Where to go for help

Help may come in several forms: Seeing your oncologist, trusted family and friends, or a licensed mental health professional. These include:

  • Your oncologist, oncology nurse, nurse navigator, oncology social worker or other members of your healthcare team
  • Your primary care physician, gynecologist, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant
  • Licensed mental health providers, including clinical social workers, licensed professional counselors, psychiatrists and psychologists who work with women with cancer
  • A community health center or clinic
  • Trusted family members or friends
  • Your community center or place of worship
  • Support groups for people affected by breast cancer
  • Social networking outlets, blogs and online resources for those affected by breast cancer. (Ask your care team about good sites, and always share with them what you learn.)
  • A health coach from your insurance company
  • LBBC’s Breast Cancer Helpline, (888) 753-LBBC (5222). We can match you with a trained peer volunteer who has a similar experience to you, whether that be the diagnosis type, stage, age or concern

Seeing a mental health professional, including:

  • Types of mental health providers
  • How to know when to seek professional help
  • Ways to pay for mental health treatment

If you feel life is not worth living

If you feel hopeless, reckless or trapped, or you think you are in danger of hurting yourself, we strongly encourage you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255. This hotline provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Call right away if you:

  • Have thoughts of wanting to hurt or kill yourself
  • Are looking for ways to kill yourself
  • Feel hopeless, cannot control your anger or feel as if there is no way out
  • Are doing more risky things
  • Are using alcohol or drugs more often and too much
  • Have extreme mood changes
  • Tend to isolate yourself from friends and loved ones
  • Lose your sense of purpose in life

Return to Emotional life overview

October 18, 2018

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