After setting her sights on a career in clinical psychology, Tegan’s plans changed in her final year of university following a significant life event.
“I lost someone close to me to suicide and the flow-on effects of that made me reassess what I wanted to do for work. Talk therapy definitely has a place and there’s a time when people may be ready for that, but it was the practical day-to-day support that was necessary in those critical few weeks and months.”
“I decided to become a support worker so I could get involved directly where people most needed the support, when they needed it. I always thought I might go back to do my clinical masters, but the longer I’ve worked in this field, the more I think this is where I want to be.”
Tegan started in the West Moreton team as a support worker in 2015 and has tried her hand at a variety of roles over her eight-year tenure.
“I’ve worked in Partners in Recovery, Transition from Corrections and Hospital to Home, and returned to West Moreton in February this year as Assistant Area Manager. I’ve been able to stay with the same organisation, but it hasn’t been the same job throughout – which has kept things interesting and challenging.”
The human services sector is a natural fit for Tegan, who has always had a fascination with human behaviour, relationships and building connections. A calm, consistent presence, Tegan has often found herself as a confidante in her friendship circle. She enjoys creating safe spaces where people can determine their goals and work towards achieving them.
“It’s nice to be able to help people realise what’s important to them, what’s aligned with their values and what they want out of life. Having started out in West Moreton all those years ago, it’s been great to come back and see what some of my old clients are up to now – many of them have taken amazing strides forward.”
In addition to supporting others to grow and reach their potential, Tegan has learnt a lot about herself during her time at RFQ – and even more in the past two years since becoming a mother.
“I’ve learnt you have to be open to continually learning and challenging your beliefs and biases. You get to understand and appreciate the complexity of life and how people’s formative experiences shape their brain, behaviour, future development and understanding of the world.”
“It’s super interesting having a small child and being involved in these experiences. Seeing him figure things out and understanding his motives behind certain behaviours is quite fascinating – though challenging and exhausting! It has made me a more empathetic and compassionate person.”
Doing her best to dispel myths and offer alternative perspectives on mental health, Tegan is confident everyone can contribute to building a more accepting world.
“You don’t need to have a comprehensive understanding of mental health; you don’t need to be an expert in the field – you just need to have empathy for what others are going through and care enough to find out more. That’s how we normalise this topic and avoid feelings of isolation and shame that can accompany mental illness.”
“The lives we get is all a bit of a lottery at the end of the day – but by speaking openly about our feelings and encouraging others to do the same, we can help people feel less alone.”