Free counselling

Through Bupa, Macmillan are offering up to 4 free remotely-delivered counselling sessions for people struggling emotionally because they are living with cancer. People can access support remotely within days if they qualify to use the service.

What is Bupa counselling?

Bupa is working in partnership with Macmillan to offer up to 4 free one-to-one remote counselling sessions for people living with cancer. These sessions, delivered by phone or video call are led by a qualified therapist, and can help you understand, manage and overcome difficult feelings you may have right now.

How can Bupa counselling help me?

The service can help improve your quality of life by:

  • providing personalised support that responds to your situation and needs
  • reducing the 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 able to manage your own emotions
  • increasing your confidence and motivation.

What are the criteria for using Bupa Counselling?

To access the service, you should be:

  • a person living with cancer
  • 18 years old or over
  • physically located in the UK at the time of Assessment and Counselling sessions 
  • struggling emotionally because of cancer
  • feeling that your biggest current need is mental wellbeing/emotional support in relation to your cancer diagnosis
  • mentally, physically and socially able to take part in the counselling process
  • not currently receiving therapy, help or intervention elsewhere for mental health needs
  • feeling that your usual daily life is being affected by how you are feeling
  • expressing or describing symptoms of anxiety, depression and/or irritability
  • struggling to cope and feeling things in life are becoming increasingly difficult
  • a minimum of 6 months from the last time you used this service i.e. if you have used the service before, you should wait at least 6 months from your last session before accessing again.

You should not be: 

  • getting therapy, help or support elsewhere for mental health needs
  • looking for counselling about your mental health needs separate to your cancer diagnosis
  • in severe crisis or having suicidal thoughts 
  • currently in hospital as an inpatient.

If you are in crisis, you will not be able to get immediate help using this service. Instead call Emergency Services on 999 or the Samaritans on 116 123 at any time of the day or night.

The Bupa Counselling Booking System

Click on the link ‘Book a Wellbeing Assessment’ to start the referral process. The first step is to register your details with Macmillan for a Bupa Counselling Referral. Once completed, you can then book a Wellbeing Assessment appointment.

Once you select a date and time that suits you, you will need to tell them some personal details, such as your name, date of birth, contact numbers and email, and home address.

You can add extra information such as any accessibility needs or adjustments you may need. For example, a BSL interpreter or interpreter if English is not your preferred language.

Bupa will use your information to provide the counselling services to you. On completion of the counselling services, or if you disengage from them, Bupa will inform Macmillan so Macmillan can follow up with any support needs.

Bupa will also share the information you have provided in your appointment booking with Macmillan to help ensure the accuracy of invoices. No information discussed in the Bupa counselling session(s) will be shared with Macmillan. For further details on how Bupa collects, uses and protects your information and the rights you have over it, please see their privacy notice.

Book a Wellbeing Assessment

Wellbeing Assessment process

The Bupa Support Team will do a Wellbeing Assessment to understand what emotional support you may benefit from. Bupa will contact you by phone at an agreed time and complete an assessment during the call. The Wellbeing Assessment will take up to 50 minutes to complete. Please make sure you are in a private space for the call and not distracted, for example driving a vehicle, when you speak to the practitioner.

After the assessment, you could either receive:

  • up to 4 free counselling sessions via phone or video call
  • a referral for one-off emotional support session for up to 1 hour
  • signposting back to Macmillan, your GP or the NHS.

If you are referred for counselling after the assessment, it will be carried out by a trained practitioner from Bupa or a partner organisation. You will be asked for your consent for your details to be transferred to the counsellor during your assessment appointment.

What will happen once I book an appointment?

A member of the Bupa Support Team will carry out the Wellbeing Assessment at the date and time you selected.

If you are unsure if this service is appropriate for you, or would like to talk to someone about the service please contact the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00 (from 8am-8pm).

Who are the Bupa therapists?

Bupa’s qualified therapists are:

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

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

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion statement

We are committed to working with Macmillan Cancer Support to make sure people living with cancer access support in a fair, equal, diverse and inclusive environment.

Our counselling service, subject to the assessment criteria above, is available to anyone in the UK who is over the age of 18 and living with cancer. This is regardless of: disability, gender identity, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion and belief, sex or sexual orientation.

The Bupa Counselling Service is not an in-person face to face service. This service is delivered remotely by phone or video call. 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. Please refer to accessibility or language needs or adjustments in the section 'The Bupa Counselling Booking System'.

  • Macmillan disclaimer
    • Any information that we provide you is for general guidance only and is not clinical advice.
    • You must not rely on any information we provide or referral we make as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or qualified healthcare professional, nor delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice or discontinue medical treatment.
    • Consult your doctor or healthcare professional if you have a specific question on a medical matter.
    • In the absence of our negligence we are not liable for any services or information provided to you by Bupa and we are not giving you any representation or warranty about Bupa.