what is mind fit?
Mind Fit is for anyone who has experienced poor mental health and is ready to make a positive lifestyle change.
Designed to improve people’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, the programme offers structured physical activity sessions supported by a social group and regular “Healthy Minds” workshops. We work with a range of people, suffering from mild to more challenging mental ill-health, and our team of support workers can provide more intense 1:1 support where required. We work with a trusted referral pathway, from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust, to local GP surgeries, social prescribing networks, as well as other trusted charities.
Physical exercise, often through boxing, aerobics and circuit training, is delivered by qualified and experienced Mind fit coordinators and accredited boxing coaches who provide a supportive, welcoming and friendly environment, for individuals to improve their physical fitness in an authentic boxing setting. The comradery and social engagement amongst members is fundamental in reducing levels of social isolation, enabling those with varying levels of social anxiety to feel at ease in a gym environment. Our approach is non-judgmental, safe and welcoming.
Most participants in the Mind Fit scheme come to us at the start of a journey to improve themselves and make positive changes in their lives. As a result of this, they talk and support each other, which creates an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere.
CASE STUDY: SCOTT
Scott’s problematic drug use began when, at just 13 years old, he started to inhale gas. This quickly escalated and by the time he was 15 he was using cannabis, LSD and ecstasy. After leaving school without qualifications, Scott had a few jobs, working in factories and as a labourer, but by the time he was in his 20's he was using crack and heroin on a regular basis. He became anxious, insecure and paranoid, thinking that people were looking at him and wanted to rob him. His drug abuse had a massively destructive impact, not only on his family and relationships, but on his physical and mental health. Eventually, it led to a diagnosis of psychosis.
Scott was conscious that this was not the way he wanted to live his life, but with so many years of drug use behind him, making changes wasn’t easy. He made many efforts to get himself off drugs, but he was continually targeted by drug dealers and found it difficult to get away from his old lifestyle. To make a fresh start, Scott realised he would need to leave Birmingham, so he researched other options and, after a six month wait, was accepted into a rehabilitation unit in Wirral. And it worked… for a while. After being drug-free for eight weeks, Scott started drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, he was involved in an altercation and was asked to leave the programme. He returned to the Midlands – and his old ways.
In August 2017, at the age of 30, Scott attended his first Mind Fit with Changes UK, a recovery programme for people with drug and alcohol addictions. He had never done boxing before, but soon found that he loved it, and that the programme was helping him to make some massive lifestyle changes. Now, he’s fully incorporated exercise into his daily regime, which gives him focus and discipline. Not only that, but Scott feels that Mind Fit has helped him to integrate back into society. He feels supported by his mentors and peers, and meeting people from a range of different backgrounds has given him the confidence to trust other people and overcome his anxiety and paranoia.
From there, Scott has seen one success after another. After some short college courses, he successfully completed an Access to Higher Education course and in 2019 he gained one of only twenty places at Bath University to study for a degree in Psychology specialising in Addiction Counselling. Inspired by the people that helped him, and boosted by the self-belief and self-worth that he’s gained since starting at Mind Fit, he now wants to help others. He says “I am thankful for where I am and look forward to waking up every day”.