‘Trolls taunt me over my break­downs’

Daily Star Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - ■ EX­CLU­SIVE by ED GLEAVE

BOX­ING leg­end Frank Bruno says he is the tar­get of trolls be­cause of his men­tal health strug­gle.

The for­mer world heavy­weight champ, 55, has bat­tled bipo­lar dis­or­der and de­pres­sion.

And he told the Daily Star Sun­day that he reg­u­larly gets taunted on­line.

Frank said: “There isn’t enough un­der­stand­ing about men­tal health, not re­ally. You get trolls. I get peo­ple send­ing mes­sages here and there.

“I can’t go into what they say. But it’s like it was years ago… if you were black you’d get crit­i­cism, if you were Ital­ian you’d get crit­i­cism, if you were gay you’d get crit­i­cism. It comes with the ter­ri­tory.”

In 2003 Frank had a ner­vous break­down and was sec­tioned un­der the Men­tal Health Act.

And five years ago he was hos­pi­talised twice over fears for his well­be­ing. But to­day he is con­fi­dent that he’s fi­nally beaten his demons.

He said: “I don’t strug­gle with my men­tal health now. I look af­ter my­self and mon­i­tor my­self so I don’t strug­gle.

“In the sum­mer you get more en­dor­phins and you feel more lively. I’m okay at the mo­ment. But in the win­ter you can feel a bit more down.”

Frank, who fought the fear­some Mike Tyson twice, has spo­ken about his strug­gle with men­tal health over the years to help others.

He opened up about his dark­est days in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy Frank: Fight­ing Back.

And he reck­ons he has helped to raise aware­ness of what suf­fer­ers go through.

Frank con­tin­ued: “Years ago if you said to some­one you were go­ing through men­tal health prob­lems they would cross the road. But now peo­ple are com­ing to terms with the is­sues and un­der­stand­ing it more and hav­ing sym­pa­thy for peo­ple who are suf­fer­ing.

“Peo­ple should imag­ine it was their son or mum or dad. Peo­ple have been very rot­ten in the past but now peo­ple are be­ing very sym­pa­thetic.

“The thing is, it’s not just sports­men who strug­gle… ev­ery­body strug­gles.

“You can be a dust­man or a po­lice­man and still be af­fected by men­tal health.”

Ear­lier this year Frank set up The Frank Bruno Foun­da­tion, which of­fers treat­ment to suf­fer­ers.

He said: “I want to help peo­ple out there who are suf­fer­ing from men­tal health prob­lems.

“There are peo­ple be­ing sec­tioned and I want to help them.

“I want to fly a flag for them be­cause I think the ma­jor­ity of them are be­ing treated very rough.”

■ HIT­TING BACK: Frank to­day and, inset, in sec­ond fight with Tyson

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