It is no secret that exercise and physical activity have a positive impact on our mood, self-esteem, energy and stress levels, cognitive functioning, depression and anxiety. However, mental health issues are as prevalent as ever with moderate depression on the rise.
Adam Ebzao is a certified Personal Trainer from North Yorkshire. He is on a mission to not only raise mental health awareness, specifically in young adolescents, but to help people through it. Teaming up with “Mind”, the UK’s biggest mental health charity, Adam plans to travel the country with his urban-style DIVERSITY workouts and DJ decks. I was invited to join the team at their latest location and had an absolute blast! With everyone coming together for the same reason, it was a judgement free, love only zone of sweat and smiles.
What is DIVERSITY?
I use the name Diversity because it is powerful and strong. I wanted to create something where everyone comes together and associates Diversity workouts with a positive release. The workouts are for absolutely anyone, no matter what their age, gender, culture, beliefs or background. Everyone is welcome and the entire program is aimed at anyone who needs and wants the help, although this initial stage of work is aimed slightly more towards young adolescents, with diversity workouts being urban-style in a raw environment, graffiti, DJ decks and club music.
The connection between DIVERSITY and Mental Health
When I was a teenager I was suffering with depression. I got caught up in an unhealthy social environment from a young age. I had no idea at the time I was depressed, I just knew I wasn’t in the right frame of mind. I finally sought help and turned to my brother and went to the Doctors. They did the standard routine, filled out some sheets, ticked some boxes and put me on medication. There was no emotion behind it, I didn’t feel looked after or cared about. It’s like a conveyor belt, one after the other. And that needs to change.
There is an ongoing problem with mental health and young adolescents. Statistics we have found show 1 in 4 people suffer from anxiety or depression, with an increase in both among 15-18 year olds. Diversity is a workout program designed for these kids to improve their mental health through exercise, music and a positive environment. Studies prove that exercise helps improve mood, it makes us feel positive, happy, a sense of achievement. This should be prescribed more than pills.
Social media needs regulating for under 18s. The dopamine that is released in our brains when we receive likes, comments, notifications, is the same as alcohol, drugs and gambling. These are all regulated and for over 18s only and social media should be the same. It is an addiction that leads to serious problems. Instagram and Snapchat have brought us filters, making people feel deeply unhappy with the way they really look and adding so much pressure on them to change and fix the way they look. These social media services should come out and regulate this and realise what an effect it is having. It shouldn’t take me going to the government to do this.
Behind the Scenes:
I have been getting a lot of information and gathering data regarding the NHS curriculum and funding for mental health and how we can improve patient care. I have teamed up with Mind, the UK’s biggest mental health charity who are fully supporting DIVERSITY. They offer help and support to anyone who needs it and I am thrilled to be working with them.
Looking to the Future:
Moving forward and looking at the big picture, we want 3 things:
- The DIVERSITY workouts will tour the country raising awareness in youth mental health and link up with radio 1 DJ’s to get the attention it needs from the right people.
- New schemes set in place to help people with moderate depression, with more care and attention. GP surgeries to actively promote exercise as an effective method of improving moderate depression and anxiety. Government funded job as a Mental Health Coach, combining counselling with personal training, focusing on the full lifestyle and implement a platform and changes for this person to follow.
- Government legislation regulating social media for under 18s.
This is our slogan meaning protection from negativity. A lot of people fear change and fear being judged. Well, “Let the streets talk” is our way of saying F the haters, watch me do this, watch me work hard, and let the streets do the talking for me.