It’s a fact of life that technology has revolutionised the way you work, the way you shop, and the way you connect with loved ones. Actually, it’s hard to imagine life without it. Now, technology makes it easier to support those impacted by melanoma, too: with a simple click, you can access group support without leaving your house, at a time that suits you.
However, despite the wonders of technology, we know that everyone’s needs are different, so there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. MPA’s goal is to offer as many avenues of support as possible, to make sure we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re newly diagnosed or more advanced; whether you live in a city or a remote area; whether you live alone or with others – we’re here to lighten your load.
1. Our closed Facebook group launched in July 2016, and within 12 months we’ve welcomed 500 members into our group. Log on anytime, anywhere, to swap stories, share information, and connect with people in similar situations.
Anyone can join, if you have internet access and have been impacted by melanoma. It’s ideal if you live remotely, or if you’re feeling unwell and can’t travel. Perhaps you live alone, without anyone to drive you to a support meeting? Or, when you’re awake at 4am, it’s comforting to hop online and discover that others are having trouble sleeping, too.
From Melbourne to Mt Isa, from Canberra to Kununurra, we give you instant access to a valuable community that provides advice and reassurance. And while peer-to-peer support is very important, rest assured that a trained melanoma counsellor reads the comments and will chime in if needed.
2. ‘Invitation-only’ Facebook groups exist for people with a specific need, such as: those who’ve exhausted all treatments and trials; or carers. Contact the MPA counsellor to learn more about these groups.
3. Face-to-face groups. Eleven groups operate across Australia, but we’ll happily start more groups if there’s enough interest in particular locations. Each group needs one or two volunteer leaders (either someone with melanoma or a loved one), who are trained by our MPA counsellor. Despite the rise in online communities, face-to-face groups show no sign of decline.
4. Telephone support groups are valuable if you’re housebound or in a remote location, with no internet connection. Each call is limited to a manageable number of eight, so you’ll always have the chance to speak. Two health professionals facilitate each call, introducing everyone and helping to put you at ease.
5. One-on-one counselling is an important stage if you’re struggling to find the right information. Often, a one-hour conversation with the MPA counsellor will clear up any myths or confusion. From there, the counsellor suggests the best form of ongoing support for you. And the ‘you’ can be anyone affected by melanoma
6. Peer-to-peer connections are often requested. If your diagnosis is less common, or if your circumstances are unusual, it can be harder to find people to connect with. If this sounds like you, then contact the MPA counsellor who will link you with a peer in a similar situation, to share experiences, challenges and advice.
Remember, a little support goes a long way. Your MPA counsellor will help you find the best support option, tailor-made for your situation. Call 1300 88 44 50 to be connected.