By Terence Dooley
Former WBC heavyweight titlist Frank Bruno MBE has once again come out in support of the fight against mental health. Bruno suffered from depression following his retirement and the collapse of his marriage. The 53-year-old former fighter has made no secret of the fact that he suffered badly as a result of mental illness and is putting his weight behind a film about Shared Decision Making (SDM).
The film has been put together by Darren Flynn from Newcastle University’s Institute of Health and Society. It will help promote the treatment amongst doctors and people who are struggling with mental health issues.
‘Shared decision making (SDM) is a process through which patients, and their relatives and doctors work together to identify the treatment option that is best for an individual patient. SDM involves doctors and patients sharing their respective expertise to identify the best choice of treatment for the individual patient,’ (taken from the promotional materials at: http://sdmdepression.ncl.ac.uk/index.php .)
The film follows a fictional character who is fighting depression. The character, John, takes in advice from friends and his GP to find the best treatment. GPs are often quick to prescribe anti-depressants, but some people find that the treatment is as bad as the illness, especially when the time comes to wean themselves off the pills. SDM will allow people to make an informed choice about their treatment, which is a big step on the long, sometimes lonely, road to recovery.
Bruno was diagnosed as bipolar over a decade ago, he believes that people need to be aware of the issues associated with mental illness as well as the benefits of finding the right kind of treatment.
“Mental health problems knock your confidence and it is important to keep fighting,” stated Bruno. “It is good people have a choice and the confidence in having a say in what happens to you. You are the one who has to take the medication or go to a therapist—not the doctor.”
Depression has become a big issue in boxing. The suicide of popular matchmaker Dean Powell as well as the death of Darren Sutherland raised the issue of mental health within the sport.
One simple step forward was the acknowledgement that there is an issue with depression in a number of sports, not just boxing. It set the ball rolling, raised awareness and will hopefully prompt people to look at the mental, not just the physical, aspect of being a prizefighter or working in such a highly-pressurised field.
Click on the following link for an in-depth look at the issue of depression in boxing and its impact on former and active fighters: http://www.boxingscene.com/depression-boxing-silent-blow--73467 .
Please send news and views to @Terryboxing.