16 June 2022
230,000 Australian men and their families will be given no-cost access to a new mental health counselling service for Australians impacted by prostate cancer.
The Prostate Cancer Counselling Service, being launched by Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia today, will be the first of its kind in the world.
PCFA CEO Anne Savage said the service would help reduce risks of suicide death among men with prostate cancer.
“Prostate cancer is a major threat to the health and wellbeing of Australian men, with over 18,000 men newly diagnosed each year who will face a 70 per cent increased risk of suicide,” Ms Savage said.
“Alarmingly, around 72 per cent of men who develop mental illness will not seek help for it, and this new service will help to overcome one of the major barriers to care, giving men no-cost access to telehealth counselling from specially trained nurse counsellors who understand what they are going through.
“At least one in three men with prostate cancer will experience clinically significant distress, around 1 in 5 will experience anxiety and depression, and high numbers of men will have lower life satisfaction up to 10 years after their diagnosis and initial treatment.”
The new counselling lifeline has been funded by a grant from The Profield Foundation.
“The Profield Foundation is proud to support a service so clearly dedicated to delivering significant social benefits for the Australian community,” Foundation spokesperson Daniel Pace said.
“The Foundation has had a proud association with PCFA, supporting the Prostate Cancer Specialist Nursing Service over many years and witnessing the difference PCFA makes in the lives of men and their families. We know that many men and their loved ones, in both city and country areas, will benefit from this important service.”
PCFA General Manager Supportive Care Services, Bernard Riley, said demand was strong for the service.
“More than 230,000 men are living with or beyond prostate cancer in Australia, and by 2040 that number will increase by around 60 percent,” Mr Riley said.
“The counselling service will be fully integrated with PCFA’s Telenursing Service, allowing our specialist nurses to refer men for more specialised care when they need our support.
“Over 70 per cent of callers to our Telenursing Service are patients, many in need of information and advice from a health professional who understands prostate cancer, with the majority admitting to feeling moderately or highly distressed about the issues and uncertainty that they’re facing.
“Our counsellors will be able to help men and their loved ones navigate the challenges of their diagnosis, providing practical strategies for coping with the disease and self-managing the emotional, spiritual, and psychological impacts of what they are experiencing.
“The service exists to help catch men before they fall into isolation and suicidal ideation.”
For support or information about PCFA’s new Counselling Service, phone 1800 22 00 99 or visit www.pcfa.org.au.
The Prostate Cancer Counselling Service is proudly supported by The Profield Foundation.
PCFA Media contact:
Laura McKoy | M.0435 094 788