Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I don't know how to cope

I am writing to you as I am going through an extremely tough time at the moment, I have anxiety and depression and I take daily antidepressants but I recently found out my dad has got cancer and honestly I'm trying so hard to stay strong for my family but I keep hiding how much it's hurting me, I just really don't want them to worry about me ontop of what is already happening, I'm wondering whether you have any good copying methods for these sorts of things or just any sort of advice to help with what me and my family are going through. I'm in an important stage of my life at the moment so I need my head to be in the right place or it will jeopardise my future completely and I just want to help the rest of my family, thank you for your time
Ask Sam



Discovering that someone you love has a serious illness can be frightening and upsetting. It can also make coping with other challenges in your life feel more difficult. It’s understandable to feel upset and hurt by your dad’s illness, and to want to support your family.

It sounds as though you’re worried about the impact this is having on other parts of your life. If school know they should find ways to support you, and be understanding if you are struggling. Perhaps you could think about talking to a member of staff that you get on with about what you are going through. 

As you are already taking antidepressants, it could be useful to talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling as they may have ideas about other treatment and might know about other support that is available in your area. Doc Ready is a website that can help you to prepare what you would like to say if you’re thinking of talking to a doctor about your mental health. You can also read more about depression here.  

I can hear that you want to stay strong for your family, but it’s important that you also have support yourself. Riprap is a website for teenagers who have a parent with cancer with information and suggestions about ways to cope.

Letting out your feelings is an important part of coping when a family member is ill. You could use the forums on that website, or the ChildLine ‘Home and Family’ message boards to talk to other young people who may have been through similar experiences. If you want to talk to someone openly about how you are feeling you could talk to a ChildLine counsellor by having a chat online or on the phone.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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