Good Causes

Get fit and look after your mental health

Jaqob has suffered with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression for much of his life. For a long time he wasn’t formally diagnosed but problems at school, leading to him being expelled at 15, made him realise that something needed to change.

He said, “I was born in Manchester and was placed into the care system pretty much immediately. After a few turbulent years back and forth in different homes, I was lucky enough to then settle with my auntie and cousin, who live on the Wirral, at the age of 2.”

Jaqob has always been into physical activity. When he was younger he was passionate about outdoor sport and as he got older he started to spend more time in the gym.

He said, “I noticed I felt better when I trained. So I started to seek help from fitness experts and eventually got into powerlifting.”

He was offered the chance to compete with the British national powerlifting team, at the 2017 World Powerlifting Championships in the Czech Republic. Jaqob said, “I went expecting to get fifth or sixth place, but I ended up winning.”

It was at this point that Jaqob had an epiphany. He said, “I felt good [about the win] but it wasn’t enough, I went back into self-destruct again, but it was a turning point.

“My passion is working with people who have mental health issues. I wanted to get involved in charity work around mental health and fitness.” And it was a random chat with his butcher that pointed him in the direction of the National Lottery-funded Martin Gallier Project, which specialises in suicide prevention and mental wellbeing.

Together they have created a six-week, socially-distanced, outdoor programme that will be available for people to attend locally. For the rest of us the exercise and mindfulness workouts will be available on The Martin Gallier Project’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Over the six weeks Jaqob will start by explaining how to build a strong daily routine along with coping mechanisms and exploring what science has to say about fitness and mental health.

For mental wellbeing Jaqob suggests several techniques, like journaling and guided meditation. He said, “Effective journaling can result in many positive outcomes and improvements to your quality of life. It can help you clear your head, make important connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, and even buffer or reduce the effects of mental illness.”

When it comes to meditation Jaqob said, “Guided meditation is a great way to cope with stress and give yourself some quality time to let your brain relax and re-centre yourself around the busyness of life. Multiple studies show that up to eight weeks of guided meditation can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

Thanks to National Lottery players, around £30Million a week is funding good causes, like the Martin Gallier Project, across the country.

29th July 2020

For 25 years The National Lottery has been changing the lives of winners and supporting good causes across the UK. Since November 19th 1994 there have been more than 5,700 new millionaires created and over £41 billion has been given to good causes across the UK.

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