We welcomed Jimmy Gittins to speak about his horrific career-ending injury and the impact it had on his mental health.
The ex-rugby league player was one of two presenters from the charity, State of Mind, who spoke to students to mark International Men’s Day and make a positive difference in the wellbeing and lives of men and boys. Jimmy was accompanied by former Super League Rugby League referee, Ian Smith.
“It’s important for us to come to get the message around mental health out to younger people for a culture change – if we all keep sitting on the stigma that’s very much around mental health then it’s never going to change.”
In the mental fitness sessions, Jimmy shared his personal journey from breaking his neck in two places which left him paralysed from the chest down and changing his life forever. Jimmy talked about focusing on his mental health and how he formed an award-winning specialist rehabilitation unit.
Jimmy, who has been a mental health ambassador for State of Mind for the last decade, said: “It’s important for us to come into schools and colleges to get the message around mental health out to younger people for a culture change – if we all keep sitting on the stigma that’s very much around mental health then it’s never going to change.
“The students we spoke to were fantastic! For 45 minutes, they listened and took something from it; they might use it once, twice, or even every day, but if we can make that difference to one person, then it’s a win!”
Local gym owner and motivational speaker, Pete Shaw, also spoke to students and touched on issues such as mindset, mental health and mental and physical motivation.
Pete spoke about his work with a client, Jonathan, who with Pete’s help and support, has lost an incredible 20 stone. He also spoke about at an event he organised which raised over £10,000 for Barnsley Hospice.
Pete, owner of Barnsley Barbell, said: “I loved attending the college for their International Men’s Day – it was an honour, a privilege and an amazing experience to share with the students a little bit about my story.
“I think the biggest thing I would like people to take away is that the past doesn’t matter, so you can write a new story starting from today and ultimately you’re the lead role in this life – whatever it is you choose to do, you can go out and do it, don’t be held back by what other people think and listen to the inner voice that guides you on whatever you want to do in life.”
Last updated: 21st November 2023
Originally posted on: 21st November 2023