Yarning with someone

Having cancer can quickly become overwhelming and we can begin to feel isolated. Fortunately, one of our strengths as mob is rallying around those we care about during difficult times. We know that sharing our worries by yarning with those we trust can remove feelings of loneliness and can give us strength and hope.

Our mob who have had cancer say that yarning with others about what’s happening is helpful. 

“We need to be able to talk openly,” one Aunty says. And “Talk – and listen – not only to your health care team but also to your family and friends”, an Uncle advises. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed or worried, you might want to yarn with people you trust about:

  • your feelings
  • what you are thinking
  • what you want to do
  • what you need to feel better

Cancer in our mob


Life with and after cancer


Who can I yarn with?

  • Your doctor is someone you can always ask questions and yarn with about cancer or anything else that worries you, even things that are not related to your health.
  • Have a yarn with other mob who have been through cancer. Mob say that has helped them. They will have some of the same feelings and ideas as you. And different ones too that can help give you a different perspective. 
  • Elders have experience with handling health problems and the worries that come with being sick. They are a great source of wisdom and strength for us and are willing to share their stories and what they know to help us.
  • Cancer support groups are another good place if you want yarn about your cancer journey. You can meet others and hear their stories. There are cancer support groups for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Ask your doctor, nurse or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health worker about support groups you can join in person or online.
  • You can always yarn with your doctors, and people who work at the hospital or in the cancer unit where you get treatment. If you prefer to yarn with our mob, ask for the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander liaison officer or an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander health worker. Hospitals and cancer units also can put you in contact with counsellors who live in your area. 
  • Yarn Safe looks after people’s mental health and wellbeing. Call 1800 650 890 and or visit the website. It’s part of the headspace network. 
  • Healthdirect also has a service finder - click on the “other services” button then on “Aboriginal health services”. Put your area in, and click search. Use this to search for somewhere to stay if you have to travel for tests or treatment.