Mary* was referred to me by her GP as she had financial worries and addiction issues. She was using cannabis to lose weight and to deal with her anxiety.
I gave Mary some online resources to help with her anxiety and stress and also some chronic pain resources as she suffers from fibromyalgia. She didn’t want to join any fibromyalgia groups as she is extremely anxious in social situations, so I was delighted when she came along to a meditation group at the local community centre that her daughter encouraged her to attend.
A big stress in Mary’s life is the difficulties she has with her ex-partner and his parenting of their daughters. He is the biological dad of her younger daughter and has both girls when they go to stay with him.
Mary is trying to get support at school for her elder daughter so I supported her to write up some of the difficulties that she was experiencing to be included in an application by the school to CAMHS. I signposted Mary to an online parenting apart course from Mediation Scotland and the Triple P Parenting course as I felt she had lost confidence in her parenting skills. We are hoping to host a face-to-face parenting course by Mediation Scotland this year, so she plans to attend this instead. I also gave her details of Roots (local additional support needs charity) and Enquire Scotland in case she needed extra help with meetings at the school.
A lot of Mary’s worries centre around her elder daughter, so I decided to focus my attention on getting her some support as I knew this would help alleviate some of Mary’s anxiety and worries. I referred her daughter to the Primary Care mental health nurse and also contacted Relationship Scotland who had some counselling sessions available during the summer. Mary was unsure how much benefit her daughter got from this as she doesn’t share her feelings very often. She is now getting counselling support through the school and is no longer with the Mental Health nurse at the surgery. I also referred Mary’s daughter to the FDAMH social prescribing service which is a service supporting 13-24yr olds with their mental health. This will hopefully bridge the gap until she gets appropriate support through CAMHS.
I have seen Mary twice in her home and although our focus was on her daughter’s CAMHS application, these sessions also allowed Mary to reflect on her childhood and adulthood, and how she feels that her behaviours in her personal relationships, work and parenting life have been challenging for her at times due to her mental health and her likely ADHD diagnosis. Her dad, and also her daughter, have similar behaviours and there is a strong genetic link for ADHD, so she is of the belief that all three of them have ADHD.
While I was there I encouraged Mary to contact a friend as she was anxious about attending a friend’s wedding. I asked how the wedding went and she said it was a beautiful day and she said her anxiety settled fairly quickly once she was there. Sharing her worries with her friend had helped and she said she will try to re-engage again with friends she has lost touch with.
It has been great to see Mary make some small steps, but her main goal is to get a diagnosis of ADHD for her and her daughter, so that is the goal we are still working towards.
*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality
Justine Nicolson is a Community Link Worker in NHS Forth Valley