Submitted by Stephen Reilly, ACC, SWS Coaching Ltd
United Kingdom

March 2020 began a time that changed all our lives, bringing uncertainty, fear, and panic. The effects of COVID-19 were catastrophic. We were all bombarded with media coverage on TV and across other platforms of National Health Service (NHS) staff crying and at a breaking point and posting how the pandemic was affecting their lives.

At this point, Stephen Reilly made the decision to utilize his coaching skills by offering FREE mental health coaching to all NHS staff across the United Kingdom. He wanted to provide a safe place to talk, offload and just listen during what was to be many months of stress in their lives. Through social media and word of mouth, he reached out everywhere offering the pro bono services. Overwhelmed with the response, staff across the UK—doctors, sisters, nurses—all called. He made himself available 24/7 to be there for them.

“I am passionate about my work and the people I work with. I’ve made it my life’s work to go the extra mile. An example of this was one evening during the start of the pandemic, a call came in at 11:30 p.m. It was hard to initially hear the caller, and at first it appeared to be a prank. After some perseverance and patience, I realized it was in fact a senior consultant finishing a shift who was at a breaking point. I listened for more than 60 minutes and set up another session to talk some more. That consultant was on the edge, and the call was vital. The consultant has gone on to say that the impact of that call saved him and changed him forever. He was able to continue his frontline work with a newfound vigor, strength and passion for the subsequent waves that followed.”


Stephen’s drive to continue helping the NHS hasn’t diminished even though he contracted COVID in December 2020, and subsequently developed long-term COVID. He has made it his goal to continue supporting all NHS staff for as long as they need him. The work is focused on enabling NHS staff to find strategies, and to help them cope through the ongoing stress they are experiencing. To date, Stephen has conducted 120 hours of pro bono coaching. Thanks to this initiative, many in the NHS have developed coping strategies that allow them to continue delivering amazing services.