Frank Bruno opens up ahead of book launch
Frank Bruno talks to Nick Owens ahead of the launch of his autobiography in Canary Wharf
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 thefrankbrunofoundation.co.uk
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 email@example.com