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Mental health ‘bootcamp’ sessions launched

PACKING A PUNCH: Trainers Ryan Kelly and Lauren McCartney want to bring people together PACKING A PUNCH: Trainers Ryan Kelly and Lauren McCartney want to bring people together
By Michael Jackson

A West Belfast couple is to host a fitness bootcamp to help people who are struggling with their mental health.
In a bid to raise charitable funds and awareness, Peach Studios owner and personal trainer Lauren McCartney (24) will host a number of training sessions alongside her partner, Ryan Kelly (23), at at Blackstaff Mill.
The bootcamp will include alternating hour-long sessions for males and females, which will be completely free of charge.

Speaking ahead of the event, Lauren said: “We saw everything that has happened in the area recently and it was really sad seeing the effect on everybody. Sometimes when things like this happen it can be like a domino effect because people are grieving.

“Training can sometimes be the best thing for you. Before I started training I was in a bad place and I was really low. I became a personal trainer because I know how much it helped me. In that hour that you’re training you’re not thinking about anything else. Whatever is going on doesn’t matter in that hour.”
She added: “The bootcamps are really uplifting environment. We want to get the music on, have a geg, get everyone talking, and make everyone feel good.”

While training sessions are free, there will be a donation bucket and ballots at the gym with all money going towards Suicide Awareness. However, as Ryan says, the event is all about mental positivity and making new connections.

“We’re not too worried about the money that we raise, we’re more concerned about getting people together,” he said. “It’s good to get people together in a group environment where they can push each other in their training and support each other. Hopefully it create a wee community, get them training and get their minds off whatever is troubling them and make them feel a wee bit better.

“We have people contacting us from rehab facilities who are coming down, we have people who have tried to take their own lives and their coming down to take part.”

He continued: “I’m from Ballymurphy and there have been dozens of people who have taken their own lives in the last five years alone, so we want to get people in our community together to show that they’re not alone. It’s about tackling that lonely side of depression.

“People feel like they can’t talk to anybody, but training is quite a social thing and so it can really help people in that sense. If we can get even one person to make a connection, start a friendship then they might keep the training going.”

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