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How are fitness classes improving mental health on campus?

Friday 11 May 2018


Reading time: 3 minutes

Exercise helped me cope with my anxiety. Now, the classes and website I run help others to feel better about themselves.

Psychology student Aimee Browes runs fitness classes aimed at improving people’s mental health. In this video she explains how exercise has helped her cope with anxiety, and below she discusses why it’s important for us to talk about mental health.

At pretty much every event I put on through the Happiness Bootcamp project, I get asked one thing – why do you talk so openly about your experiences/anxiety?

There is always one simple answer I can give to this: so that it gives others the confidence to talk about theirs.

I’ve not always been open about my experiences of mental health. For the majority of my childhood and teenage years I was extremely quiet about it. I kept it secret from my family and friends and thought the best way to deal with it was to struggle in silence.

I believed nobody else felt the same way as I did, let alone understood what it felt like to be trapped in my own mind and body.

But I was so wrong.

I spent years thinking I was crazy, not normal, I felt a complete failure. I felt like I was separate to everyone, like I didn’t even belong.

The day I told my parents about the awful thoughts I was having was heartbreaking, yet it was a weight off my shoulders. For me I was lucky they understood and helped me get onto my feet through different forms of therapy.

Now I share my story openly, and with confidence that if I speak out about my struggles and my ongoing mental health issues, then maybe it will inspire someone else to do so too.

I’m not saying stand up on stage and shout (hey, if you want to, please invite me!) but speak to a friend, a family member, a teacher, a counsellor, a doctor, me, just anybody.

Speak to online chats with Childline, the Samaritans or even Mind.

Just SPEAK.

No matter how scared you are, how difficult the situation may be or how you may feel, I promise people want to listen to you. You are able to come through the darkest of tunnels and see a beautiful light on the other side.

One little sentence or cry for help is all it takes to allow yourself to heal, to begin a new journey of self-love. It will never be a straight or easy ride, but I can promise that if you pick yourself up and keep going, the world will become a beautiful place.

You have so much to give, so much to see and so much to do. You are amazing, beautiful and worth every second on this planet. You can get through this, you are never alone.

I believe in you.

It is time to talk.

Visit Aimee’s website the Happiness Bootcamp for more information on her classes.

Aimee's useful website list

Student Minds
If you’re a student struggling with mental health issues, you are not alone. Join your local Student Minds and attend workshops, events and meet other people who feel the same way as you.

Big White Wall
An anonymous website where you can speak to a counsellor 24/7.

Mind
Speak to a mental health adviser, attend events or even join therapy groups.

The Samaritans
Speak free and anonymously to an online or over-the-phone adviser for a chat or urgent help when you need it.

Sheffield Hallam University is not responsible for the content of external websites.

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