Meet Ty from Braintree
There’s no single “type” of person who comes to HeadsUp. Ty had moved from a successful career in financial services into an even more successful career as a body-builder. He was crowned Mr Universe Musclemania 2013 in Florida- after just two years of targeted training. A spell as a TV host in Kuwait was followed by several years in the USA developing his own brand, a blend of fitness, music and motivation that even saw him sing at The White House. In 2018 he became unwell, and returned to the UK.
In Ty’s words, he knew his “mental health was bad”. He felt “far away from everything”, and struggled to communicate with anyone, including his loved ones. After a period of time he knew that he wanted to get better, to get back to the gym and work on his mind, body and spirit. He felt he could trust the UK and trust the NHS, so he sought help. He was referred to a MIND STaR worker, whose bubbly personality helped him to reconnect with the outside world. When the time was right he was then referred to HeadsUp.
The Impact of my Peer Support Worker
“I saw it was Lottery funded, and I felt like now I could win the Lottery… Just having people believe in you, to almost give a stamp of approval that now you’re ready”, says Ty. “HeadsUp seemed tailored to me: a programme that gets your mind back and helps you get back to work”. He credits the warmth and empathy of his Peer Support Worker (PSW) with helping him to understand his own health; and when things felt tough she was always there with encouragement and support. She helped him to open up, and when the time was right she started to discuss employment opportunities with him. At this point she got a Development and Skills Officer (DSO) involved.
Ty appreciated this extra practical support. Working together with the DSO, they agreed the type of employment that would help him in his aspiration to “grow more and more into a better version of myself”. An updated, restructured and tailored CV helped him to appreciate his achievements thus far and started to open doors. He took part in a HeadsUp online wellbeing workshop which he found incredibly useful: not only was the trainer great, but as part of the process he also learned to use Teams for video calls. He then opted to have his DSO appointments via Teams, appreciating the virtual face to face contact.
As Ty’s confidence grew he also increased involvement with his church, helping to plan virtual events around Easter. He was encouraged to share his talents with the church community further, and taught an online exercise class to fellow worshippers. Again, this supported his confidence and reminded him just how much he had to offer; so when his PSW showed him a job opportunity he was ready to go for it.
Rediscovering a Sense of Purpose
“I’m working now. It’s a local gym, great atmosphere, with the opportunity to build on my qualifications”. When he looks back on his journey to this point he is particularly proud to be teaching a high-intensity training class that he has put together, and to see people enjoying it. He knows that his mum can see a happier, healthier son. She has always been a source of great inspiration to him, and he wants to repay that by making a difference to others. Ty has rediscovered his sense of purpose, and wants his story to help motivate others who are facing their own struggles: he has taken part in podcasts and wants to reduce the stigma people feel regarding mental health.
Ty is proud to recommend the support he has received from HeadsUp, and has some great advice to others when they join the programme:
“Get on that phone, make sure you keep every appointment. Those calls should be cherished- every call was a light in a dark tunnel. Follow through- if you don’t do your part you won’t get as much out of it. Take the advice. The formula works, the structure will work. Trust it.”