Exercise guru and post-pandemic national treasure, Joe Wicks, visited his secondary school and childhood home in Epsom during a documentary about mental health.

The BBC documentary, Joe Wicks: Facing my Childhood, focused on his parents’ mental health and the impact it had on him growing up.

As part of the programme, the dad-of-two visited Blenheim High School in Epsom, which he attended from 1997.

Surrey Comet: Joe Wicks (photo: BBC)Joe Wicks (photo: BBC)

After taking a PE class, the 36-year-old spoke to headteacher, Anthony Bodell about mental health.

In the documentary, Bodell said: “Going into the pandemic we had just over 80 vulnerable families and broadly by the end of the pandemic that had doubled.

"Mental health, I think, was the thing that suffered the most during lockdown.”

Exercise was often an escape for Wicks when there were issues at home, he shared.

Wicks, who lives with his wife Rosie and their two children in Surrey, hopes the documentary will break the stigma around parental mental health problems by encouraging families to talk openly about it.

The East Surrey YMCA has started a project called Step Forward, which aims to help young people aged 17-24 in the Surrey Downs area, with their mental health and emotional wellbeing needs.

Activities include sport and fitness activities, cooking, and mindfulness exercises.

Sophia Demetriou, the Wellbeing Coordinator for Step Forward, thinks celebrities like Joe Wicks talking about mental health helps raise awareness and is a positive step towards reducing the stigma.

She said: “You might be aware that you have a mental health need like anxiety or low mood or low self-esteem issues.

Surrey Comet: photo: Step Forwardphoto: Step Forward

"This project is the next step in getting that early help before it progresses anymore.”

“We’re giving young people a safe space to be and feel part of something.

"By the age of 18 a lot of services drop off and you have to go to an adult centre.

"The problem with this is 18-year-olds don’t want to be in places with 50 or 60-year-olds.

"The idea is that this is an extra seven years on the under-18 services."

One of the main advantages of the project is that those with emotional wellbeing needs can self-refer and do not need an official diagnosis from their GP.

Sessions are every Monday evening in the Phoenix Youth Centre in Tadworth.