I’m a children’s mental health nurse and can't cope | Agony Aunt

Our agony aunt, Fiona Caine, answers your questions.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 10:47 am
Fiona Caine advises a woman who is struggling at work. Picture: iStock/PA.

Question: I am a children’s mental health nurse and have been working such long days, seven days a week, since before Christmas.

Will I catch up with my paperwork; will I be able to cover all the home visits; are my staff able to cope with the stress; will I cope with the stress?

I just hope we can give enough to keep these kids alive, in their own homes, and that we can reduce some of the levels of self-harm. But I am so tired.

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I’m not sure how much longer I can cope.

Answer: I am very sorry that you are having to work so hard and yet feel so unappreciated.

As a mental health professional, you probably don’t need me to advise you on coping strategies when it all becomes too much – but do remind yourself that they apply to you too.

Taking a break, listening to music, meditating, spending time in nature, focusing on your breathing – they apply to you just as much as they do to the people you are supporting.


Question: My little girl is almost 15 months and is going through a separation anxiety phase, which is very draining for me as she only wants me. She shares our bed as she’s been a terrible sleeper since birth.

I love her more than anything but do find myself wishing she would just sleep on her own, so I can get a bit of time with my husband of an evening. My husband thinks I’m on a permanent holiday – but being a stay-at-home mum is hard too. I love being a mum but I don’t know who I am any more.

Answer: It’s really hard coping with a small baby, as any mum knows – but doing it without the support of friends, family and other social groups right now, makes it much harder.

As to feeling like you again, I don’t think any of us feel ‘normal’ right now, but once it’s safe and we’re all allowed out a bit more, dress yourself up and meet friends, if only for a socially distanced coffee. Just being with people other than your husband and baby will help you rediscover who you are.