Boxer Lee McAllister is concerned about the impact the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown will have on people’s mental health.
In May last year McAllister opened up about his previous battles with depression.
McAllister eventually sought help from his doctor and took the first steps towards his recovery.
However, he believes isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic and fear over health and finances could plunge many into mental illness and depression.
McAllister revealed he has taken many phone calls from people suffering anxiety and looking for advice following his revelation about his own battle.
The number of calls has risen considerably in recent weeks and he believes the psychological impact of Covid-19 will leave a lasting toll. To help, McAllister has set up a foodbank at his Assassin Health and Fitness Village gym and is posting online fitness and motivational videos.
The 37-year-old said: “With the crisis we are experiencing now with people stuck inside I fear suicide rates will rise.
“It is a massive concern.
“Globally how many lives are going to be taken by the individuals themselves due to fear, anxiety, depression?
“Everything is uncertain and no one knows what is coming.
“Myself and the rest of the team at Assassin Health and Fitness Village are continuously trying to help people struggling from depression, anxiety and mental health issues.
“The crisis is pushing people who suffer from that back, turning them into a recluse.
“All those anxieties burning inside them return and this crisis will be hitting people hard.
“We have been putting up training programmes for people to do at home or while they are taking exercise or a walk under social distancing regulations.
“It is to keep people motivated, to give them a purpose and something to look forward to.”
Assassin home workout of today is by Ed law good luck and have fun #assassinfamily #teamassassin
The World Health Organisation recently released advice on protecting mental health during the coronavirus outbreak.
With the country on lockdown, McAllister has grave concerns for the mental health of Britain.
McAllister said: “You can never beat mental health and illness, but you learn how to cope with it.
“There are some times when that switch goes in your head and you hit those down days.
“If you don’t know how to deal with those down days they can destroy you. The fear is people who have never known mental illness or depression before coronavirus will struggle.
“They will be getting it at the worst possible time because the whole world is on lockdown.
“For example, if you look at young people who have maybe set up on their own in a new flat. Now they are in isolation on their own.
“They cannot visit family or friends and are stuck indoors.
“They could also have lost their jobs but still have bills, rent and mortgages to pay.”
Through his online videos, via the Assassin Health and Fitness Village’s Facebook page, McAllister hopes he can help those struggling with mental health.
He said: “I have been there with depression and mental health problems but am now out of the woods. My advice is to try to turn the negativity into a positive. Be positive not just physically but mentally.
“If we don’t do that then you can go on a downward spiral.
“I am replying to hundreds of people who are struggling, be it with mental health, anxiety or where to go next.
“I am not a qualified counsellor or social worker but I have a lot of experience with that. One thing in life you can’t buy is experience – and I have been there.”
Assassin food banks celebrating 🎉🥊
Posted by Assassin Health and Fitness Village CIC on Tuesday, 21 April 2020
McAllister’s gym at Balgownie playing fields had played a key role in helping people deal with anxiety and depression.
Multiple-weight boxing champion McAllister and a team of volunteers have been distributing food packages collected at the gym to those in need in Aberdeen and beyond.
McAllister said: “People are struggling. Many don’t have money to buy food and others are scared to leave their home.
“Aberdeen has so many people in need at the moment and we all need to work together to make sure they are getting fed.”
Last year McAllister went public in the Evening Express about his previous battle with depression. He hopes his experience and advice, along with the food bank and fitness videos, can help people with mental health or financial problems during this crisis.
He said: “Coming out about depression helped so many.
“People have stopped me in the street and said ‘thank you’ – that reading my story made them realise if a boxer can suffer from depression and get through it so can they.
“It touched a lot of hearts and people understood it.
“I wasn’t looking for attention. The last thing I wanted was for people to know my personal business, but I felt I needed to let people know what I had been through.
“They knew they weren’t alone and it could hit anyone.”