Mental health

Taylor Kearney Wellbeing journey

Hi, I am Taylor Kearney and became a WELL Champion back in December 2022. I work as a Decision Maker in Work Capability Assessment in Belfast Service Centre at the Plaza Building.

Becoming a WELL Champion was definitely the result of a personal recovery journey. In Summer 2022, I was experiencing significant anxiety, work-related stress, and low mood in my previous job role.

I reached out to management and one of our building’s many Mental Health First Aiders and fellow WELL Champion, Heather Uprichard for some advice. She was amazing and signposted me to Inspire.

I owe so much of my recovery to Inspire. After reaching out to them, they took my details and partnered me with a counsellor for 6 free sessions. I am not exaggerating when I say that these sessions changed my life. My counsellor got to the bottom of my issues and gave me the knowledge of coping with any further issues that may arise.

In the space of 12 months, I have been on a strict diet plan, where I have lost 4 stone (showing the direct link between mental and physical health), met my wonderful girlfriend and now currently work in a role that I love. My own Mental Health issues have helped me greatly in my current role, giving me more understanding and empathy of others’ needs and requirements.

Using the DfC Wellbeing Wheel has now become a daily ritual. Whether it is a walk around town (mostly playing Pokémon Go in my case), reading a book, learning a new skill or doing something nice for others, it all pays dividends for our own Wellbeing in the long run!

The journey into becoming a WELL champion was by pure chance and luck! I had an interest in the WELL programme, using it myself, but it was only at an LGBT Network and WELL event at the PRONI buildings back in December 2022 did Heather introduce me to Bob Anderson from the WELL team. I shared my journey with Bob and he asked if I would like to join the team. Luckily, the next day there was a WELL champion training session that I attended to become a WELL champion.

Since December, it has been great. I have been able to help numerous colleagues with issues that they are having with their Wellbeing; many of whom have contacted Inspire and used their services, to great success. It is also brilliant to share any upcoming sessions, articles or events being run by the WELL team with my colleagues in the Plaza building.

One of the best parts of being a WELL champion (other than supporting colleagues) has been the meet-ups that happen throughout the year. They are an excellent way to chat, learn, share and collaborate with other WELL champions and keynote speakers. At the most recent event, it was great to have our Permanent Secretary Colm Boyle speak and recognise the WELL team and the work we do.

Hearing from senior management is always a real bonus as it shows us all that we are appreciated and noticed within the department. My own management within the Plaza have been brilliant for this also in all parts of my journey (from when I first reached out needing help to where I am now).

I would like to thank management, Heather Uprichard, Inspire and the WELL team for all the support I have received over the past year and for allowing me to share my journey!

I have learned how important our own Mental wellbeing is! Please reach out if you are struggling or get involved if you can!