A cancer patient is twice as likely to suffer with mental and emotional distress than the average American. This distress can continue from diagnosis through treatment, and well into survivorship stage. Mental stress and anxiety can affect and prevent the body from fighting disease, recover from surgeries and treatment. At Michelle’s Place Cancer Resource Center, 80% of the client’s report stress, depression, and anxiety from a diagnosis and unfortunately the family members are also affected mentally and emotionally. The COVID Pandemic placed a severe strain on the medical industry and finding a mental health provider that can take in a new client has become close to impossible, especially if a patients’ finances are limited.
As a result, Michelle’s Place approached this need with an innovative solution for their clients and their families to access behavioral health resources. A partnership through Pepperdine University in 2022 made it possible to utilize practicum students who can provide behavioral health services under the supervision of a licensed clinician. This step has opened the doors for many other Universities to join hands with Michelle’s Place such as Loma Linda and Tulane University. Triple Moon Psychotherapy Collective’s Clinical Supervisors are all licensed therapists and can provide supervision to practicum students and interns to provide one on one sessions to clients and their family members yearly at no cost. This also assists the community by infusing new soon to be providers into the network of providers for Behavioral Health Services. Michelle’s Place is determined to grow this program and ensure our clients get the resources they need.
Shanda Brennan, MSW, CSW, LCSW, co-founder and CEO of Triple Moon Psychotherapy Collective and Director of Behavioral Health explains in more detail the importance of this program. “The psychosocial and psychiatric impact that a cancer-burden brings to an individual and their support partners is often immense and can result in substantial impact on mental health and wellbeing. This also means the long-term impacts of a cancer diagnosis on mental health are being more often realized with upwards of 35% of patients reporting symptoms of depression and/or anxiety post-diagnosis. Mental health during and post-treatment is less prioritized than treating the disease itself due to many influences, including access to care. Here at Michelle’s Place, we are pleased to be breaking down these barriers and offering no-cost mental health services to our clients, their families, and their support network, provided by licensed therapists and supervised graduate level interns. Through the expansion of our mental health services, we have built upon our mission that “No one should face cancer alone.”
This program is being made possible through grant funding from the Fallbrook Regional Health District, Kaiser Permanente Foundation, Supervisor Chuck Washington and the Inland Empire Community Foundation, Seraphim Fund.
For more information on Michelle’s Place Cancer Resource Center visit www.michellesplace.org or call 951-699-5455.