Free specialist counselling

Through Bupa, Macmillan are offering up to six counselling sessions, free for people struggling emotionally because of cancer. Within days, people who are eligible can receive specialist, remote support.

What is Bupa counselling?

In partnership with Bupa, Macmillan are offering up to six sessions of free one-on-one counselling to people living with cancer. These sessions will be led by a qualified therapist, and could help you understand, manage and overcome difficult feelings you may be experiencing right now.  

How could Bupa counselling help you?

The service could help improve your quality of life by:

  • providing personalised support that is tailored to your circumstances
  • reducing the sense of fear, anxiety and/or depression that you might be feeling
  • improving how you cope emotionally with living with cancer or after cancer
  • helping you feel empowered to manage your own emotions
  • increasing your confidence and motivation.

Who are the Bupa therapists?

Bupa’s qualified therapists are:

  • mental health practitioners
  • experienced at supporting a wide range of people in vulnerable situations
  • screened and supervised by Bupa’s lead Clinical Psychologist and a BACP Accredited Counsellor

Bupa’s qualified therapists are not experts in cancer and its treatment. For specialist cancer information, you should speak to a Cancer Information Nurse Specialist on the Macmillan Support Line.

How can I access Bupa counselling?

Bupa counselling is for anyone with cancer who is over 18 and feeling:

  • anxious or worried
  • depressed or sad
  • in need of someone to talk to.

If that sounds like you, here is how you can access the service:

  • call the Macmillan Support Line today on 0808 808 00 00 and ask about the Bupa service.

Please note: you can only access this service via the Macmillan Support Line. Please do not contact Bupa directly.

In September we ran a short trial to allow people to refer themselves into the service online, or via a healthcare professional. Unfortunately that trial has now ended and we are deciding whether it’s something we will continue in the future. We’re sorry if you wanted to take part – however, you can still access the service by calling the Macmillan Support Line.

If you have any feedback on these tests, please email innovate@macmillan.org.uk.

What will happen once I'm referred?

If you are referred to Bupa for counselling, Bupa will contact you for an assessment to identify your needs and to make sure the service is suitable. If it is, you will be referred for up to six free counselling sessions over the phone or via video call from your therapist.

Sessions usually last up to one hour and happen once a week, but this is flexible around your needs and availability.

Who can use the Bupa counselling service?

This free counselling is for anyone who has cancer now or has had cancer in the past. It is for people who are struggling emotionally because of cancer, whose difficult feelings are overwhelming and affecting their everyday life. To access the service, you should be:

  • a person living with cancer
  • 18 years old or over
  • struggling emotionally because of cancer
  • feeling that your biggest current need is mental well-being/emotional support
  • mentally, physically and socially able to engage in the counselling process
  • not currently receiving therapy, help or intervention elsewhere for mental health needs
  • feeling that your usual daily functioning is being affected by your emotions
  • expressing or describing symptoms of anxiety, depression and/or irritability
  • struggling to cope and finding that things in life are becoming increasingly difficult.

We are committed to making sure that Macmillan Cancer Support is a great place for everyone, and prioritise maintaining a fair, equal, and inclusive environment. Our counselling service in partnership with Bupa is available to anyone in the UK who is living with cancer, 18+, regardless of disability, gender identity, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion and belief. We want everyone to be able to access this service, so please let us know if there is anything we can do to support you with this.

Accessing the Bupa counselling service

  • Call the Macmillan Support Line today on 0808 808 00 00 and ask about the Bupa counselling service.