A NEW program will soon be introduced to help young people in Blacktown and surrounding areas who have a parent with cancer.
National charity CanTeen's new program, Truce, is a seven-week, face-to-face skills-based group support for young people aged from 14 to 22 years.
Program developer Pandora Patterson, last week met with sisters, Tayla Williams, 13, and Alyssa, 17, whose father Aaron, 40, died of cancer last year.
Dr Patterson said Truce was a different program based on the existing CanTeen program but designed to make it more effective in improving the mental health of young people.
She said Truce used acceptance and commitment therapy) to help young people cope better. "The program includes psycho-education, mindfulness, values-based living and dealing with difficult thoughts and feelings," she said.
"Young people who complete Truce will be better equipped to manage their psychological well-being in relation to their parent's cancer and other difficult life circumstances.
"It helps them to cope with the shock, disbelief, anger and fear as they encounter hospitals, treatment and uncertainty of life.
"These mixed emotions can throw young people off balance and have a devastating impact on their transition from childhood to adulthood."
The two sisters who participated in CanTeen's existing program say they found it very helpful.
Alyssa said that before meeting other young people in the same predicament in group sessions she and her sister couldn't even discuss the matter with their mum, Melinda.
"We felt isolated and depressed," she said.
"We didn't tell our friends about it as they wouldn't get it."
Both have signed up to participate in the free Truce program, which will start this month and is now recruiting young people to participate.
To take part in the Truce group, or for more information contact Esther Davis at Parramatta on 1800 234 007 or email@example.com or www.truce.org.au.