With so much talk about mental wellbeing these days we felt it was time to look at how fitness professionals can do more to understand and help those who suffer.
Our guest line-up includes…
Katie Butler - A young woman with an incredible story
In the early hours of the 24th February 2016 Katie Butler (then aged 16) tried to take her own life by jumping off a bridge onto a railway track.
She failed in her suicide attempt and severed her spinal cord.
Katie is now confined to a wheelchair and has found a remarkable new purpose in life. Her mission is to help others who find themselves in a similar situation.
I’ll be interviewing Katie at LFX on 21 March to find out how important her fitness routine is for her mental wellbeing.
Garry Banford - Former Sergeant Major leader with UK Special Forces
Garry began his career, post college, in the Royal Marines. After 6 years of service he was successful in completing joint U.K. Special Forces Selection (SAS and SBS) in 2003. He subsequently continued in this for 15 years through arguably the busiest sustained period of UKSF Operational activity in its history, reaching the rank of Warrant Officer (Sergeant Major). This equates to senior management... with some decent stories of experience!
in his final years Garry was involved in the recruitment, preparation, coaching and mentoring of all volunteers to UKSF.
Garry is now a family man, who feels the time is right to diversify his leadership experience to a wider audience. He believes that all the traits that are required to be successful in UKSF are translatable to business. A growth mindset, the right tools and the correct motivation is all anybody really needs.
At our event Garry will discuss ways in which a sense of purpose can help people overcome some mental health problems and how regular exercise helps him and his colleagues to deal with everyday problems.
Joe Townsend - British Paratriathlete
Former Royal Marine Commando Joe Townsend got into triathlon when he completed the Ironman UK triathlon in Bolton in July 2011.
He has since competed at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, where he finished second in the disability category in a time of 11:35:52 (2012) and has established himself as one of the best PT1 para-triatheltes in the world.
He competed for Paralympics GB in Rio in September 2016. Joe also carried the Paralympic Flame into the London 2012 stadium as part of the opening ceremony.
He was suspended by wires and made a dramatic overhead entrance to the arena, even though he is actually scared of heights.
Gold Coast 2018 was Joe’s Commonwealth Games debut and he won gold in the men's para-triathlon.
Joe will be joining us for the second time and will discuss how fitness operators can do more to help the mental wellbeing of ex-service personnel thorough the creation of active communities.
John Heritage - Chief Operating Officer for North West Boroughs Healthcare
John joined the North West Boroughs Healthcare Trust Board as Director of Transformation and Partnership in July 2018 and had responsibility for new business, strategic partnerships to support the delivery of new models of care and service delivery, and our estates function.
In October 2018, NWBHC changed it’s governance and operations functions and John became the Trust's Chief Operating Officer with responsibility for Operational Services, Business Development and Estates. As Chief Operating Officer, John works closely with the Chief Nurse and Executive Director of Quality and Governance and the Medical Director to ensure we deliver safe and effective services.
Prior to joining NWBHC John was Director of Operations for England at one of England's largest third sector mental health, learning disability and older people's charities, Community Integrated Care.
John is also a trustee of Making Space, a registered national charity providing health and social care services in the heart of local communities.
At our event John will be talking to me about the multitude of mental health conditions and the ways in which LFX members can collaborate with partners from the health/medical sector.
Dr Phil Cooper MBE
Another fantastic addition to our guest list for Thursday 21 March is Dr Phil Cooper MBE.
In 2010, he co-founded State of Mind (a mental health campaign formed within the Rugby League community) with Ernie Benbow and Malcolm Rae after reading articles by the pair on Terry Newton's death.
Dr Phil was nominated for his MBE by his colleague Steve Hull, deputy director of nursing and quality at North West Boroughs.
At the time Steve said: "Phil has always been a huge inspiration to me and so many others both at work and in the community, and I felt he deserved formal recognition for everything he's achieved.
"Phil has championed important issues like men's mental health and suicide awareness, and he's touched so many people lives - empowering people to open up and speak out about their mental health."
Phil will be discussing the roots of State of Mind and the way in which it has reached hundreds of young men over recent years.
Lindsay Mifsud - Crossfitter and Mental Health Advocate
Lindsay is the type of person who trains in your gym. By day she’s a Senior Team Leader with Vodafone but at night she’s a Crossfit athlete….
Lindsay Mifsud has suffered with anxiety since the age of 15, mainly as a result of bullying in High School. This contributed low self-esteem and very little self-worth.
The anxiety continued in to her early 20’s and eventually (coupled with a stressful lifestyle) contributed to a mental breakdown. Anxiety attacks were a regular occurrence and Lindsay was prescribed anti-depressants, which she took for 2 years.
Eventually, Lindsay decided something needed to change. She no longer wanted to flood her body and brain with chemicals. Whilst the tablets helped her in day to day life, she knew there was something deeper she needed to work on. Herself.
She told me that she needed to sort out what was going on inside, not mask it.
So Lindsay started running…a lot! She ran five 10ks, four half-marathons, a full marathon, and completed a Tough Mudder. Lindsay says it gave her a buzz, an adrenalin rush and she felt free. No one could tell her she wasn’t good enough because it made me feel like she was. It made her feel unstoppable.
Lindsay then started Crossfit and it was a real turning point for her as she ditched the anti-depressants.
“I strongly believe, to this day, that if I hadn’t found CrossFit when I did, I would still be on the anti depressants”
Exercise for Lindsay, is not just about having a better physique. “It is not just about body confidence (which it can give you in abundance) it’s what it does for your mind. It’s what it does for your self-belief, your self-worth, and what it does for your mind”.
Lindsay wants to help people to understand that prescription drugs are not the only answer to mental health issues. Looking after yourself, training for HEALTH and not just vanity, having a more self-love is the way forward!
I think you will all enjoy listening to Lindsay’s frank opinions on fitness and mental health!