Frank Bruno opens up ahead of book launch

Frank Bruno talks to Nick Owens ahead of the launch of his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy in Ca­nary Wharf

The Wharf - - News -

Are you ex­cited about launch­ing your book in Ca­nary Wharf? I am. I love the East End. York Hall is a mas­sive part of the Lon­don box­ing scene.

That place means quite a lot. I have some fond mem­o­ries there, watch­ing am­a­teur and pro­fes­sional fights. It’s a great all-round at­mos­phere.

I’ve done a lot of shows there and it brings back some great mem­o­ries. Nigel Benn fought there and it was a great at­mos­phere. I was ac­tu­ally sup­posed to fight there at one stage but I got a walk-over.

Places like this are im­por­tant for the box­ing scene in Lon­don, just like the Royal Al­bert Hall.

And Can­ning Town means a lot to me too. That place brings back a lot of mem­o­ries be­cause when I was younger we moved there from south Lon­don.

It’s a beau­ti­ful place, the Royal Oak pub was there and, in the old days, there was the market.

They are just re­ally de­cent peo­ple, full of lovely East End char­ac­ters.

Frank, why have you writ­ten this book?

I wanted to fully un­der­stand how I was able to re­cover from the prob­lems I have had.

I wanted to talk openly about what hap­pened and leave the past where it be­longs, be­hind me. I also hope it might give sup­port to any­one going through the same kind of has­sles to re­alise you can get over any­thing and move on.

What do you think of the cur­rent stan­dard of men­tal health ser­vices.

I think they re­ally need to be shaken up – com­pletely changed. I have seen some re­ally ter­ri­ble care.

If some­one like me, a fa­mous face if you like, gets bad treat­ment in hos­pi­tal what must it be like for the man on the street? Well, I can tell you it’s not good enough. There are too many doc­tors happy to send peo­ple off with a bot­tle of pills, telling them med­i­ca­tion will make ev­ery­thing OK. We need to think more about the dif­fer­ent treat­ments we can of­fer.

More coun­selling, more al­ter­na­tive ther­a­pies, get­ting peo­ple out and ex­er­cis­ing, down the gym, into an en­vi­ron­ment where they can de-stress, relax and recharge.

How do you feel now?

The best I have in my life. I am now med­i­ca­tion free and no longer have to see a doc­tor about my men­tal health con­di­tion.

That feels great. More im­por­tantly I have an un­der­stand­ing of my ill­ness – I know the dan­ger signs, what to look out for and how to pro­tect my­self.

Tell me about your de­ci­sion to launch a foun­da­tion

I have seen so much poor care within men­tal health ser­vices and now I want to of­fer some­thing dif­fer­ent.

The foun­da­tion aims to help those who want to try a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to deal­ing with men­tal ill health that won’t see them sent away with med­i­ca­tion or left locked in a cy­cle of be­ing in and out of hos­pi­tal.

What are the aims of the foun­da­tion?

First and fore­most to help peo­ple. How? By of­fer­ing non-con­tact box­ing ses­sions to re­lieve the stress and strain that some­body may be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in their mind.

There’s an old say­ing: Healthy body – healthy mind. That is the key to what we do.

Why non-con­tact box­ing?

Lis­ten, get­ting in the ring is not ev­ery­one’s cup of tea. And fight­ing would not be a good idea for many peo­ple try­ing to over­come bat­tles with their mind.

But the skills and ex­er­cises you learn out­side the ring def­i­nitely are. They can be the weapons you need to land the blow on your men­tal ill health and re­cover.

What has helped you re­cover?

I know who I can trust now and those peo­ple give me the love and sup­port I need.

I’m not afraid to talk about how I feel or to ask for a bit of help. And I’m not afraid to say no.

Now I’m not afraid to rest. I of­ten joke if I rested any­more I’d be dead. But I’ve come to re­alise how vi­tal rest is to good men­tal health. Let Me Be Frank will be pub­lished by Mir­ror Books this month, priced £20

To find out more about The Frank Bruno Foun­da­tion, which of­fers non-con­tact box­ing ses­sions aimed at help­ing to re­lieve men­tal ill health go to the­frankbruno­foun­da­

Join Frank for the launch of his book on the 31st floor of One Canada Square on Oc­to­ber 19 at 6.30pm for £30 in­clud­ing a signed copy. For reser­va­tions or de­tails email mir­ror­books@trin­i­tymir­

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