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Level Headed: exploring physical fitness and mental health

Exercise works. Thousands of our supporters use sport and exercise to not only raise awareness and funds for CALM, but to look after their mind and body and inspire others to do the same. So we’re buzzing to launch a new campaign, Level Headed with the amazing team at online fitness brand Level Fitness – with a new video series exploring the link between fitness and mental health.

The series follows the stories of four inspiring individuals who turned to physical fitness to manage their mental health after their lives were impacted by suicide.

Diving into the worlds of running, cycling, boxing and powerlifting through intimate interviews and firsthand accounts, we learn about the ways in which these people have used exercise during difficult periods in their lives, both to improve their mental health and to become part of a community where they can talk openly about their feelings, ultimately changing their lives.

Cycling and talking has without doubt helped me deal with Nelson’s death and improved my mental health, and now it’s incredible to watch other people feel the same benefits.

The first video, Tour de Test Valley, introduces CALM Trustee Marcus Chapman, a cycling and running trainer who set up the ‘Nelson’s Tour de Test Valley’ cycling sportive in honour of his friend Nelson Pratt who died from suicide. Nelson, a professional Olympic snowboarding coach, was passionate about cycling, and Marcus started the annual event as a way to encourage people to talk about their own mental health. The event now attracts over 1000 participants each year.

We’ll also meet Stefanie Stavri who started the Run4Rene running club following the passing of her brother Rene; former professional footballer and boxer Leon McKenzie, who attempted suicide after a career-ending injury took an extreme toll on his mental health, and is now a CALM ambassador and boxing coach; and author and journalist Poorna Bell, who turned to powerlifting after her husband’s suicide. 

Watch the films, get inspired and get moving with CALM!

LVL headed #1: Marcus’ story 

Marcus lost his best friend, professional snowboarder Nelson Pratt, to suicide. This is how fitness and a sense of community helped him recover, and launch the incredible Tour De Test Valley

LVL Headed #2: Stef’s story

After losing her brother Rene to suicide, Stef turned to running to help process the grief. Now she leads a running group, Run4Rene, founded in his memory to help others through life’s tough points.

LVL Headed #3: Leon’s story

After an injury ended his football career, CALM Ambassador and ex-pro footballer Leon McKenzie went through a period of depression that lead him to consider taking his own life. Here’s the incredible story of how boxing helped him turn things around, and empowered him to help others too..

Go follow Level Fitness, get inspired and get running, cycling or whatever gets your blood pumping.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article or in the comments below, are not those held by CALM or its Trustees unless stated, and liability cannot be accepted for such comments. We encourage friendly and constructive debate, but please don't share personal contact details when commenting and exercise caution when considering any advice offered by others. We don’t allow abusive, offensive or inappropriate comments or comments that could be interpreted as libellous, defamatory or commercial and we will remove these without warning as and when we find them.

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