World Mental Health Day: Hitchin’s GB Olympic gold-winning hockey star Helen Richardson-Walsh bravely shares her struggle with depression

PUBLISHED: 18:24 10 October 2017 | UPDATED: 18:24 10 October 2017

Members of Team GB hockey team during the Olympic and Paralympic athletes heroes' return in London.

Members of Team GB hockey team during the Olympic and Paralympic athletes heroes' return in London.

PA Archive/PA Images

Hitchin’s Team GB 2016 Olympic gold-winning hockey player Helen Richardson-Walsh has spoken movingly about her struggles with depression on World Mental Health Day.

Kate Richardson-Walsh is interviewed by Gabby Logan alongside the Women's Team GB hockey team during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016 at The Genting Arena, Birmingham. Kate Richardson-Walsh is interviewed by Gabby Logan alongside the Women's Team GB hockey team during the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016 at The Genting Arena, Birmingham.

The 36-year-old first developed depression in 2008 which reappeared in 2014 while she was out of action with a back injury – prompting her to write a blog documented her recovery called ‘Back to My Best’, in 2014.

Richardson-Walsh – who is married to her Great Britain teammate Kate Walsh - emphasized her partner’s help in coming to terms with it.

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday she said: “Kate always wants to help to fix things. There were times where it was difficult and she found it hard to understand – but it’s good to have somebody who really, truly understands.

“I thought that the blog would be a vehicle to be more open, certainly with my team-mates. I can describe depression in the same way lots of people do – as being in a really dark place. In 2014, I was injured, there was something wrong people could pin it on. Whereas in 2008 it was slightly different, in that there was nothing specifically wrong.

“There’s a stigma attached to mental health issues. You feel it as an individual, which is the difficult thing. You do think ‘oh, I’m not strong enough to cope with all this’, but my experience, when I’ve opened up about it, has been really positive.

“I’ve never felt stigma from others. A lot of it is what you place on yourself. Find a person you really trust, and try to speak to them. However little you say, try and open up and let somebody in. Let them know how you’re feeling.”

For more information visit https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/world-mental-health-day

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