Former World Boxing Championship contender's mental health message to Northampton's young people

Former world-class boxer Frank Bruno.
Former world-class boxer Frank Bruno.
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A world-class boxer and former Northampton mental health hospital patient says young people should open up about their emotional baggage before it gets on top of them.

Former World Championship contender Frank Bruno spoke to Northampton counselling charity The Lowdown ahead of World Health Day tomorrow (April 7) about how important it is for young people to talk about their worries.

Frank talks to The Lowdown's Ellie Blackwell.

Frank talks to The Lowdown's Ellie Blackwell.

Frank said: "I think that if a young person can come in and let go of their problems in the counselling room then they can walk out feeling freer and with a better understanding of life."

The theme of this year's World Health Day is "depression: let's talk" and aims to raise awareness of all mental health issues.

One in 10 children in Northamptonshire aged between five and 16 is believed to have some form of mental disorder

Frank said: "Young people should know they are allowed to unload their problems and get the hump off their backs, that they can go somewhere and talk about their issues and their baggage. Everyone has issues.

One of the Lowdown's counselling rooms.

One of the Lowdown's counselling rooms.

"I've done a course in counselling and I've talked to a lot of kids. They ask me for tips and pointers to help them feel more relaxed, and they use them to go with their lives.

"Early intervention is very important. It's nice that people are more aware of mental health issues and there are special people they can talk to. You don't have to go to a doctor's and get given a tablet and walk out like a zombie.

"Your brain is a very delicate thing so if you can adjust your thinking and get on the right pathway then that is very good.

"Young people should remember, 'fit body fit mind'. Going to the gym and getting involved in sport is important too, instead of sitting on a couch and looking at a computer or your phone. Try running, swimming, walking or yoga to keep active. Also, try getting a massage or doing something that can help take the pressure off and help get you into a nice bubble of enjoyment."

Frank was a patient at Northampton's St Andrew's mental health hospital and has since gone to champion mental health services.

The Lowdown is a Northampton-based counselling charity for 12 - 25-year-olds. They offer free counselling, sexual health advice and STD checks at their office in Kingswell Street, off Gold Street, Northampton town centre.

In 2016, they supported 187 young people affected by depression.

If you or someone you know needs support with dealing with depression, contact The Lowdown on 01604 634385 or visit their website www.thelowdown.info for more details on their services.

World Health Day is a celebration on April 7 to mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation.