Britain Get Talking: Olympians share their tops tips for mental health

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Sarah Gomme

A former olympic sprinter and an olympic hockey player are among those in the sporting world who have been sharing their tips for good mental health, along with their own experiences of challenging times.

Former sprinter Iwan Thomas from Southampton has opened up about how he suffered with depression when his career on the track came to an end.

The 47-year-old has been talking in partnership with Ordnance Survey as they urge more people to get outside and reap the benefits of walking in nature.

Iwan said: "You can feel very stifled when you're inside the house all the time. Speaking from my own experience, it's a vicious circle.

"If I stay in and I start watching TV and then I start eating junk food, I start overanalysing and thinking about things and then I get a bit worried and that's when my mind plays tricks on me.

"If I go outside, I try and clear my mind and just take in the beautiful surroundings, listen to the noises, maybe say hello to people as they walk past. It's just that small interaction of breathing that fresh air and being outside. It just makes me feel so much better."

Team GB hockey goalkeeper Maddie Hinch Credit: Twitter

Great Britain Hockey goalkeeper Maddie Hinch grew up in Sussex and now lives close to the GB Bisham Abbey training base near Marlow.

She took a break from the sport last year when the weight of being the world's best, simply became too heavy.

Now the 32-year-old is back with the squad and fully focussed on the Tokyo Olympics.

She has though, taken some time out to help others with their mental and physical wellbeing sharing her own tips for keeping healthy habits.

For Maddie, it has been about adapting routines and creating new ones 

Speaking at a recent forum for Weight Watchers members, Maddie shared the importance of incorporating healthy habits in her everyday routine.

She said: "I really do believe that the habits that I generate in my morning routine, dictate what I'm like for the rest of the day.

"So if something comes out of the blue, I think 'well I've achieved so much because I've stuck to my habits' so it's not quite so 'oh I've still got so much to do'".

Having taken some time away from the sport, and talking about those difficulties, Maddie came back with as much passion for the game as ever and is now fully focussed with the support of her teammates.

Maddie said: "In our world it is very easy to feel that you've got to have a sense of 'I'm really strong' and the reality is we're all human.

"Whether you're an athlete or not, we've got our highs and lows and vulnerabilities. The relief and the develop you can make when you jump over those hurdles is massive and and it's a nice place to be and in a team sport you get that more than ever."

  • For more about the Britain Get Talking campaign click here

  • Mind - mental health information and support