A Didcot-based doctor is getting into the ring to help break the stigma of mental illness.
Psychiatrist Andrew Molodynski will be slugging it out at South Moreton Boxing Club in a fight to raise funds for Restore.
The father-of-two says he hopes that by doing something quite unusual for a doctor he will highlight the plight of mental health sufferers who are keen to get back to work.
Andrew, who works at Oxford Health NHS Foundation trust, has already received support from Prime Minister David Cameron – a signed bottle of Port which will be raffled off to raise cash.
“Doctors are generally opposed to boxing because of the injuries it can cause,” said Andrew, who has been involved in the sport at an amateur level for about 5 years.
“So I decided to do something to get people to realise that mental health affects us all.
“The stigma around these conditions is enormous. Few people want to talk about it or even understand how isolating it is for the person who is suffering.
“It doesn’t help that mental health charities are treated differently to those for physical health problems. You’re unlikely to see tens of thousands of people taking part in mass runs wearing t-shirts for relatives who have suffered with mental health issues, in the same way as you would for certain other conditions, such as cancer.
“Yet the majority of people who have suffered episodes of severe mental health problems are very keen to return to some form of meaningful activity – and with support they are fully capable of doing this and contributing to society.”
Mental illness affects one in four people during their lifetime – but most can and do recover.
Andrew, who will be fighting Gary Summerfield on December 5, says he hopes the match in South Moreton will raise lots for Restore.
Martin Realey, Chief Executive of Restore, said:
‘We are absolutely delighted to be Dr Molodynski’s chosen charity. It is increasingly important to overlap the services provided by the NHS with those local charities offer. Andrew has taken a very active involvement in our Didcot based Fleet Meadow Recovery Group. Subsequently he has seen the benefits social activities can have on people’s mental health.
Boxing is a sport where no one can hide. It’s not a like team game when you can rely on the strength and support of others when you are struggling. Much like mental health, it’s about having the courage to take a step forward and face the fight. I personally admire any individual that steps into the arena and we are very proud to be supporting Andrew on the 5th December.’