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Mental Health Awareness: Martyn’s Story

Martyn Riley is a European Masters Gold medallist, an IWF Category 2 referee, and received the BWL Unsung Hero award in 2018. Here he talks about his mental health journey and how weightlifting has helped him.

Mental Health Awareness: Martyn’s Story

“I am diagnosed with ASD, ADHD and show evidence of Bi-polar. To most people I seem a very happy person and fun to be around.

However, I suffer from low self-esteem and struggle with my mood as I try to fit in with what I consider 'normal' people. I twice gave up and if it wasn't for lucky circumstances I wouldn't be here!

I use weightlifting to let my frustration out in a safe way and it has also raised my self-esteem.

This is due to my success as a former European champion, British champion and national record holder, but also through the support and friendships I have been able to build in the weightlifting community where I feel respected.

I am currently Head Coach at Body Design F.I.T WLC in Pontefract and get a real buzz from helping others and sharing my knowledge and skills with them.

I have also supported Jenny Tong in delivering Regional talent squads in the North. I have had huge support myself from weightlifting and this has helped my mental health greatly and got me through many things.

Most of my close friends and support network is from the weightlifting world in particular Ed Halstead, who is not only my coach, but my role model, mentor and friend. Sarah Eccles and Simon Longstaff from Body Design F.I.T have also been a great support.

British Weight Lifting is committed to the Sport and Recreation Alliance’s Mental Health Charter.

The Charter sets out how sport and recreation organisations should adopt good mental health practice to make activities inclusive, positive and open to everyone. As part of this commitment, we are committed to:

  • Using our sport to promote good mental health and wellbeing
  • Adopting good mental health policies and best practices
  • Appointing ambassadors and role models
  • Tackling discrimination on the grounds of mental health
  • Supporting a pan-sport platform to develop and share resources and best practice
  • Throughout all of this we should regularly monitor our performance

What if you need support?

 If you don't feel you can keep yourself safe right now, seek immediate help:

  • Go to any Accident & Emergency (A&E) department.
  • Call 999 and ask for an ambulance to take you to A&E.
  • Ask someone else to call 999 for you or take you to A&E.
  • If you need urgent support but don't want to go to A&E, you could call Samaritans on freephone 116 123- they are always open and are there to listen.
  • Contact your GP surgery and ask for an emergency appointment
  • Contact NHS 111 (England) or NHS Direct 0845 46 47 (Wales)
  • Contact your local crisis team (CRHT), if you're under their care

For further information on what to do if you need help, please visit the Mind website by clicking here

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