Olympics star Sally bat­tles men­tal hur­dles

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - Talk Tv - BY DANNY BUCK­LAND TRACK RECORD Sally Gun­nell

OLYMPIC gold medal­list Sally Gun­nell has spo­ken for the first time about the men­tal health is­sues that af­fected her fam­ily.

The mum-of-three, 51, nav­i­gated the dark tun­nels of stress and anx­i­ety in a glit­ter­ing ca­reer that brought her world records.

She said: “My whole fam­ily on my mother’s side had men­tal health is­sues grow­ing up so it is very much in our fam­ily.

“There was hardly any knowl­edge about it and you cer­tainly didn’t talk about it. I was young and knew some­thing was go­ing on but it just wasn’t ad­dressed.”

Sally, who won 16 golds across Olympic, World, Com­mon­wealth and Euro­pean com­pe­ti­tions, went on: “I didn’t realise it un­til I was at the top of my game with sport, and got an un­der­stand­ing of the men­tal el­e­ment of life and how much it af­fects us ev­ery day.

“I now feel aware of it and look at ways of not hav­ing that hap­pen to my­self or my chil­dren.”

The for­mer run­ner and hur­dler, who re­tired from ath­let­ics in 1997, runs schemes for com­pa­nies to help staff deal with stress.

Marco Co­mas­tri, Euro­pean gen­eral man­ager of com­puter gi­ant CA Tech­nolo­gies, said: “It’s time we all put this higher on our agen­das, for our­selves and the peo­ple we work with ev­ery day.”

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