With a construction trade under his belt and six years’ experience on the slopes of Canada, Seamus’ path to the mental health sector was far from conventional. Yet a formative conversation with a mate five years ago started the wheels turning on what would become a fulfilling and natural career for Seamus.
“I always enjoyed the work as a chippie but hated the culture – it didn’t suit my personality at all. I got to a point where I was burnt out and busted; the job was taking a big toll on me and my relationship. I was over at my mate’s house one day and he mentioned I should think about moving into the community services sector like him.”
Diving into a diploma of community services, Seamus went on to work in disability support for six months before moving across to RFQ. Starting in our NDIS core supports team, Seamus moved into Hospital to Home (H2H) before stepping into the Advanced role at the start of this year.
“I’ve been lucky enough to have some amazing mentors during my time at RFQ, so it means a lot that I can be that person to others now. I love it when a colleague approaches me with a question – I don’t necessarily have the answer but together we can pull apart the situation and find out what’s really going on.”
From day one, Seamus felt that he had found his place at RFQ. As a leader, he takes pride in contributing to the strong culture of support that underpins our organisation.
“One thing that stood out to me straight away when I started was how supportive and understanding RFQ was. I felt like part of the family immediately. I could go on and on about it! I feel that I’ve found my passion; it’s organic and flows naturally. I’ve got no plans of leaving anytime soon.”
When asked about supporting clients to reach their goals, Seamus lights up. He says it’s ‘incredibly cool’ to play a small part in someone’s journey, casting his mind back to a client he’ll always remember.
“I worked with this guy who gave a lot of one-word answers; it was hard to get much out of him. He had been living with his sister for years, but she was moving interstate and was worried about how he would go. He ended up getting his own apartment, got a job and applied for the NDIS. Two days later, his sister called and wanted to know what we’d done – because in three months we’d managed to do what she’d been trying to do for 20 years.”
Seamus says the secret to RFQ clients achieving great outcomes centres on empowering people to take responsibility for their lives and make their own decisions. We walk alongside people as they make their own way in the world, supporting them to create the lives that they choose.
“Sometimes it’s a challenge, but you can’t just swoop in and try to ‘save’ the person or tell them what to do. You need to provide space and dignity of risk, where they can make mistakes and learn and grow through struggles. That’s how people gain confidence. I’d say there’s an art in knowing when to provide a gentle nudge and when to sit back – and that’s done through conversations.”
As far as promoting greater acceptance around mental illness in society, Seamus urges others to never judge a book by its cover. He does his best to educate people on their role in creating a more compassionate, inclusive society.
“If more people could approach situations with a lens of curiosity and understanding rather than judgement, I think that would be a really great place to start. If we all just saw people as people, that would be incredible – just imagine what the world would be like.”