New study investigates benefits of mindfulness app for young people facing sibling’s cancer

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teenage girl outdoor coloured background_oncology news australiaAn international study will investigate whether using a mindfulness app can help to lower distress levels in young people dealing with a sibling’s cancer.

Researchers from the youth cancer charity CanTeen have joined forces with the University of North Texas, Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth and a Melbourne-based family therapist to conduct the study.

“The fact that young people struggle to cope when a sibling has cancer can often be overlooked, because health professionals and parents understandably focus on the child who is sick,” said Dr Pandora Patterson, General Manager of Research and Youth Cancer Services at CanTeen.

“These young people are dealing with really tough emotions like guilt, anger and fear and, on top of that, they often feel incredibly isolated and alone, because their friends don’t understand what they’re going through.

“CanTeen research shows that young people dealing with a sibling’s cancer are three to six times more likely to experience high levels of psychological distress than their peers, which in turn can lead to long term mental health issues like depression and anxiety.

“That’s why CanTeen is proud to be part of this innovative study looking at whether using a mindfulness app can help reduce distress levels in young people dealing with their sibling’s cancer,” Dr Patterson said.

teenager on the phone smart phone app_oncology news australiaAround 140 young people from Australia and the United States will be asked to complete weekly activities using the ‘ACT Companion’ mindfulness app for eight weeks.

The app developers, Sydney-based psychologist Anthony Berrick and Melbourne-based clinician Dr Russ Harris, are generously giving young people involved in the study free access to the app for 3 months. It normally costs $15 to download.

Recruitment for the study started this week. Any families or young people who are interested in taking part can contact [email protected], call 1800 234 007 or join CanTeen at
[hr] Source: Canteen


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