Launch of the CanTeen Online Support Platform

  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education

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Thank you for welcoming me here today.

Health Minister Peter Dutton sends his apologies that he could not be here with you and wishes you success for the programme. I know he wishes he could be here today.

While the CanTeen Online Support Platform may seem a little distant from my role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education, I have responsibility for youth affairs, so I understand the importance of communicating with young people in a way that is meaningful to them.

Young Australians are digital natives. Studies show that 95 per cent of young Australians access online technologies daily. Life before constant and ubiquitous internet connectivity and social media, the lives we grew up with, are unrecognisable to them.

The CanTeen Online Platform recognises and capitalises on this.

The CanTeen Online Support Platform is Australia’s first ever online mental health service for young people affected by cancer.

Each year, it is estimated that around 23,000 more young people are affected by cancer, either as a patient or through the diagnosis of a parent or sibling.

It is important we remind ourselves and others that many more people are affected by cancer than simply diagnosed. And for young people, this can be an acute effect.

More than half of those affected will experience high levels of psychological distress as a result.

It was pleasing to learn that using CanTeen’s new platform, young people affected by cancer can share their experiences with others experiencing similar situations and challenges, read and participate in fora and blogs, and connect to counsellors and other support services.

Importantly, the CanTeen Online Support Platform will also link those living in rural or remote locations with the vital support services that are often lacking outside our large cities.

The Australian Government is committed to supporting e-mental health initiatives as part of our focus on supporting a strong primary health care sector.

It makes sense to harness technology to improve access and outcomes in mental health. It makes particular sense when working with young people, as CanTeen does.

The Government recognises and supports the contribution that CanTeen is making in helping young people affected by cancer and in utilising technology to achieve your objectives.

Thank you once again for welcoming me here and I am pleased to officially declare the CanTeen Online Support Platform open for business.


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