The founder of lettings agency My Property Box was so moved by the story of Darlington boxer Karl Jones’ battle against depression that his staff are to benefit from a mental health awareness course.

Ben Quaintrell is highlighting the issue after hearing how Jones turned to boxing following an attempt to take his own life in August last year.

Karl – who was himself inspired by former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury’s own well-publicised fight against depression – recently took part in a charity boxing match.

That prompted the ‘Gypsy King’ to send the 32-year-old a video message of support.

Ben said: “I was moved by Karl’s determination to overcome his depression which took him to the very brink and how, through boxing and professional support, he is turning his life around.”

My Property Box is sponsoring Karl to take part in a forthcoming boxing match in Middlesbrough and the Darlington based company is determined to make a positive contribution to tackling the issues surrounding mental distress.

At any one time a sixth of England’s population aged 16 to 64 have a mental health problem, whilst government figures revealed that in 2018 the North East had the country’s highest male suicide rate with 20.4 deaths per 100,000 population.

He added: “I’m thrilled to support Karl financially in his pursuit of boxing, but I’m also determined to make a positive contribution to improve mental wellbeing.”

Ben is involving his team in a mental health awareness course run by Corporate Personal Fitness of Darlington.

“This will allow our staff to spot the early signs of mental distress among work colleagues, friends and family – allowing them to seek the necessary help and support long before they reach the lonely position that Karl found himself in.

“Karl has made a positive change to his life through sport and I hope his example will inspire others to talk about mental health problems openly and honestly.”

Sign maker Karl, who is fighting out of Tuff Gym in Chatsworth Terrace, Darlington, said: “I didn’t believe in depression until, over the course of several years, I simply stopped being me. I regretted trying to take my life and was inspired by Tyson Fury talking about his own mental health issues and turned to boxing, which gave me the confidence and drive to reclaim my life.”

Karl is fighting in championship boxing event X-Plosive 8, which includes a number of bouts on the card, at Teesside University’s The Hub on Saturday 16 November. Doors open at 6pm.

Tickets start at £25 and are available from Karl. For details email Jonezno2@yahoo.com

  • If you are feeling low, or struggling to cope, call the Samaritans’ 24/7 free helpline on 116 123 or visit https://www.samaritans.org/