Coping with mental health side effects of battling cancer

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month – a time dedicated to raising awareness and encouraging people, in need, to seek help.

While there are a number of issues that have arisen surrounding COVID-19, a cancer diagnosis can be devastating for a person and their family.

NY1’s Ruschell Boone spoke with psychiatrist Dr. Monique James from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center about the mental health impact of receiving such a diagnosis.

“We get so focused on the diagnosis, the treatments, the different complications, that we really tend to overlook some of the psychological impacts,” Dr. James said.

She says this happens all the time with her patients and their loved ones and there are many symptoms that are overlooked by both sides including: anxiety, stress, isolation and financial anxiety.

Dr. James says we can break the stigma about mental health care by talking about it. She says we need to try not to be silent and make sure everyone has equal medical and mental healthcare.