THE UK’s first ‘brain gym’ has opened in Brierley Hill for men to talk about their mental health.

Dr Emily Barney has launched Spartannn Brain Gym at Lions Amateur Boxing Club which provides one-to-one personal training for mental fitness.

The new approach to men's mental health replaces a therapist with a trainer and combines modern psychotherapeutic methods with up-to-date knowledge of how the brain works.

Spatannn Brain Gym delivers practical brain exercises to help build mental strength, power and endurance.

The gym is run from Bull Street, Brierley Hill, and clients already include former Great Britain boxing coach Bob Dillon, who has coached some of GB’s most successful Olympians including Amir Khan, James DeGale, Luke Campbell, Nicola Adams and Anthony Joshua.

Dr Barney came up with the concept after working with prisoners as an NHS clinical psychologist at HM Prison Hewell in Tardebigge, Worcestershire.

She developed a special interest in men’s mental health after becoming alarmed by the statistics surrounding suicide which is the single biggest killer of men under 45 in the UK according to the Office for National Statistics. Men accounted for three-quarters of suicide deaths in 2021 with 4,129 male deaths compared with 1,454 female deaths.

Dr Barney said: “I created Spartannn with men in mind because men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women and are less likely to go to traditional talking therapy.

“I have been testing the methods and techniques used at Spartannn for the last few years with prisoners, army veterans and police officers and that has given me the certainty that Spartannn can help men achieve positive outcomes.

“Spartannn is for everyday people and a totally new way of approaching mental health.

“At a brain gym, the focus is on increasing brain health, strength and functioning so that men can cope more easily and effortlessly with the stresses and pressures of life.

“Spartannn is aimed at men but is suitable for anybody who knows they need to sort their heads out but don’t want to see a therapist and talk about their problems.

“The sessions include simple cognitive techniques and practical exercises and an optional comprehensive assessment of progress during a session. We also offer ongoing monitoring of mental health outcomes to track progress and success and personalised mental fitness training plans tailored to meet individual needs for optimal results.”

Dr Barney’s interest in men’s mental health is also compounded by being a mum to three young boys, Will, aged six, Tom, aged eight and Sam, aged 10. She wants to ensure they grow up with the tools they need to live happy and fulfilling lives.

She said: “My boys are also a big part of the reason why I founded Spartannn because one day they will also be men. Our brains aren’t set in stone, they are able to be rewired, build new networks, and it doesn’t take long at all for the brain to do this.

“Usually within eight to 12 weeks our brain notices these new connections as it naturally starts coming up with new ideas and doing things differently. For men out there who might be going through a tough time now, we want them to know that Spartannn is there for them.”

Dr Barney also hopes to make the Spartannn brand a nationwide chain of Brain Gyms across the UK.