Gilda’s launches Bilingual Breast Cancer Support Hotline

A cancer diagnosis can lead to feelings of stress and anxiousness in many areas of a person’s life. Yet, less than one-third of individuals living with cancer receive appropriate counseling and support. These numbers are even more staggering when considering underserved populations. Gilda’s Club Westchester is working to meet the needs of these individuals by expanding our programs beyond our Clubhouse.

We are proud to announce that we recently launched a free bilingual (English and Spanish) support hotline for women with breast cancer. Through the hotline, women with breast cancer will be able to receive a distress screening and up to six sessions of short-term phone counseling from a Gilda’s Club licensed mental health professional—all completely free of charge.

“We are thrilled to offer this free bilingual breast cancer support hotline,” says Melissa Lang, CEO of Gilda’s Club Westchester. “By removing barriers to care, such as transportation, child care and language constraints, it allows us to provide critical support to women living with breast cancer in underserved areas of Westchester and put them in touch with a range of long-term resources in our community.”

Short term one-on-one counseling provides women with breast cancer the opportunity to discuss their current areas of difficulty in relation to their cancer diagnosis with the goal of decreasing emotional distress. For example, many women have trouble communicating their fears and anxieties to loved ones, in addition to concerns about work, body image and intimacy. During the 50-minute phone sessions, a licensed mental health professional will also work with individuals to identify strategies for coping and next steps in their psychosocial treatment.

“I think this hotline is a great way to reach women who wouldn’t otherwise have access to these supportive resources, and I’m thrilled to combine my background with the important work that Gilda’s Club Westchester does to bring cancer support out into the community and meet people where they are,” says Bilingual Hotline Counselor Martha Lee Mellis, CSW.
Women with breast cancer can call 914-997-6006 to speak with a licensed mental health professional in English or Spanish, and access short term individual counseling and resources over the phone.

Funding for this hotline was provided by the New York State Department of Health and the Breast Cancer Alliance.