Brandon Pontin (left) is pictured with the ball and gymnast Steve Frew (second from right) and his team.

Brandon’s ball to raise awareness

A teaching assistant from Spalding’s Wygate Park Academy has handcuffed himself to a 4kg medicine ball for a week in a bid to reduce stigmas around mental health.

Brandon Pontin was only allowed to take the ball off when sleeping, driving and getting dressed for the seven days.
The medicine ball intends to represent the weight and burden felt by those with mental health issues.

And Brandon was able to raise £300 for the Combat Stress, Mind and Soliders’ charities.

“I found the challenge really eye opening,” he said. “It highlighted how difficult life can be when battling mental health issues.

“The numbers of mental health-related deaths continue to climb. Unfortunately this rise could have been avoided if only those struggling had talked to someone – and there had been more awareness and fewer negative stigmas.”

The Medicine Ball Challenge aims to encourage those with mental health issues to seek help.

Brandon said: “Following my own recent battle with mental health, I saw this challenge as a way to show that mental health is something we should all be talking about.

“I wanted people to come and ask what I was doing, and why I was doing it – hopefully they came away feeling more able to talk about their own mental health.

“The children in school have been proactive in talking about mental health, discussing what it means with their teachers and talking to me in the corridor about it as well.

“I also had the honour of meeting Commonwealth Games gymnastics gold medallist, Steve Frew when he came into our school to do some fundraising. He was very supportive of the cause and we spoke at length about the mental health pressures that affect children and adults.”

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