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Barriers to Adequate Cancer Treatment for Patients with Concurrent Mental Health Disorders

Maryrose Mongelli, LMSW
Recorded on March 22, 2017

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About the Webinar

Cancer does not discriminate, often affecting vulnerable populations. This webinar addresses the barriers to treatment for cancer patients with concurrent serious and persistent mental illness (SMI), such as Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder. We will explore the role of the social worker for this special population, and how the social worker can be instrumental in increasing the quality of cancer care that clients with SMI’s receive. This course will also discuss the various systems affecting clients’ reluctance to seek treatment for cancer or commit to the cancer treatment protocol, the stigma associated with SMI, as well as understanding the nature of the SMI. Social workers, mental health clinicians, and healthcare professionals will have a basic understanding of the best practices on working with clients with concurrent SMI and cancer diagnoses. This webinar will also address the ethical challenges members of the interdisciplinary team may experience when working with the SMI population. Our role as health care professionals, social service providers, and mental health practitioners is not only to assess, diagnose and provide treatment, but also to provide a safe environment for the patient during a trying time when they feel the most vulnerable. This is especially important for the SMI population. Having an SMI should not exclude a patient from receiving the best and most up-to-date cancer treatment.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the presentation, the participant will be able to:

  • Cite examples of the barriers to high quality cancer care for clients with serious and persistent mental illness.
  • Describe the role of the social worker when working with clients who have serious and persistent mental illness.
  • List best practices and ethical issues related to working with cancer patients with concurrent serious mental illness.


Maryrose Mongelli, LMSW has 3 years of experience in the field of mental health. After earning her MSW degree at Adelphi University School of Social Work, she worked as a psychotherapist for a private mental health practice on Staten Island, where she gained extensive experience working with diverse populations with mental health and other psychosocial issues. For the past 3 months, she has been working at CancerCare, a nonprofit agency dedicated to providing psychosocial support to anyone affected by cancer. Maryrose is working as an Oncology Social Worker at CancerCare, where she has been instrumental in providing psychosocial counseling services to individuals affected by cancer. Maryrose also participates in the CancerCare for Kids program, as she has experience in working with children and adolescents with mental health and psychosocial issues. Moreover, she is presently writing an article for Oncology Nurse Advisor, entitled The Barriers to Adequate Cancer Treatment for Patients with Concurrent Serious and Persistent Mental Health Disorders. Maryrose is also a member of CancerCare’s Online Support Group team.

Continuing Education Credits

Level - Intermediate
Participants will earn 1.5 CE credits upon successful completion of a quiz and a post-webinar evaluation.