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Frank Bruno and Steve Myers work on mental health campaign

TEAMING UP: Frank Bruno and Steve Myers

FORMER WORLD champion boxer Frank Bruno is working with a Salford academic on a campaign to improve people’s mental health through a non-contact version of the sport.

Steve Myers, Director of Society at the University of Salford’s School of Health and Society, has been appointed as Chair of the Frank Bruno Foundation after the legendary British heavyweight visited the University’s Mary Seacole Building for a board meeting.

Myers is a qualified social worker who has worked with young people experiencing emotional and behavioural challenges and was approached by the charity because of his expertise in organising schemes to help people with mental health problems.

The foundation aims to provide a combination of group counselling sessions with structured non-contact boxing training sessions to relieve the emotional and mental distress that affects the mental health of children, young people and adults.

The training sessions will include hitting pads, shadow boxing and performing shuttle runs, reduce stress levels while increasing cardiovascular fitness, stamina and hand-eye coordination.

The foundation was set up by the former WBC heavyweight boxing champion earlier this year following his own highly-publicised battles with mental health issues.

RUNNING THE RACE: Frank Bruno, left, with daughter Rachel in 2013 after she completed a sponsored marathon for mental health charity Mind

In 2003 he was sectioned after members of his family called the authorities. Since then, the celebrated sportsman has been sectioned on other occasions and made no bones about his desire to recover and to raise awareness about mental health issues in the hope of assisting others who may be struggling.

Bruno’s daughter Rachel presented a BBC3 documentary in 2013, entitled Rachel Bruno: My Dad & Me, which charted the boxer’s fractured relationship with his ex-wife and their two daughters Rachel and Nicola; against the backdrop of his mental health journey.

Myers said:

“We are aiming to bring together the benefits of non-contact boxing with a solution focused well-being programme to help people to develop a healthier body and a healthier mind, building on their existing physical and emotional strengths and achievements.

“Our aspiration is that people will use the skills they learn on the programme to develop a happier, more fulfilling and successful future. We are looking forward to developing our partnership between The Frank Bruno Foundation, the School of Health and Society and the wider university to help fight back against the stigma of mental ill-health.”

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