Coronavirus (COVID-19): Latest information

We have made the difficult decision to close The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity offices in both the Chelsea and Sutton hospitals due to COVID-19. Our charity team will be working remotely and can be contacted via email - [email protected]. Post sent to the office will be checked once a week.

Q&A with Mental Health Nurse

Sinead is our newly appointed Mental Health Nurse based in the Occupational Health department.

Tell us about your job

My role is funded by the charity and I am based at both of our hospitals- Sutton and Chelsea. My role is to support the wonderful employees of the Marsden with helping them keep emotionally well. I work with staff and managers to help them keep themselves and each other well.  As the old airline saying goes- make sure you fit your own oxygen mask before helping others my goal is that all our staff are feeling good in themselves and able before they start their amazing work supporting the patients and family who visit the hospitals.

Sinead

What are some of the highlights of your role?

I love meeting my colleagues and learning about their roles in the Marsden. There are so many interesting people working here and they all have their own story to tell! I am also lucky enough to go and meet teams and offer sessions on wellbeing. It’s great to hear how people keep themselves well. I’m always picking up new tips for keeping well and I love passing on these tips to others!

Choose to talk about mental health this time to talk day

How would you recommend readers start looking after their own mental health?

Consider how many times have you been asked “how are you?” and you have instinctively replied “fine thanks, you?”

We are all guilty of this (I have done it twice today already!) It’s part of our polite small talk and our busy lives! It appears this important, caring question does not deserve more than a one word answer. And if we are very quick at disclosing if we have a cold, or a headache, but we are not so good at saying if we have a fuzzy head or a heavy heart.

But my question is this- are you fine?

Choose to talk

If you’re not fine would you feel comfortable replying so? See how it feels next week. Rather than ending the conversation with fine, try answering with more than one word and tell that person how you really feel. Ask them back and expect a reply longer than one word. How does it feel?

It’s ok not to be fine all the time, but it’s not ok not to talk about it! There are lots of supportive services available if you are not feeling fine, the first step is to talk about it.

So if you’re going to do one thing for yourself and those close to you to improve mental wellbeing, ask them how they are and wait for a true response. And when they ask you back, answer honestly with how you really feel.  Remember- fit your own oxygen mask first!