Team GB has launched a new, three-part video series focused mental health, hosted by Olympic gold and silver medallist and former professional track cyclist, Callum Skinner.
The three episodes of ‘Team GB in Conversation With’ will be released daily from 21st May, during Mental Health Awareness Week which runs from 18-24 May.
In each episode Skinner, who faced his own mental health challenges during his career, speaks with Olympians and those striving to make their Olympic debut in Tokyo next year about their varying experiences with mental health as an elite athlete, how they coped with the unique challenges that come with being an Olympic athlete, how they came through hard times and the lessons learnt.
Episode one features four-time hockey Olympian Helen Richardson-Walsh, who played a starring role in Team GB’s gold medal triumph at Rio 2016 as well as winning bronze at London 2012. Richardson-Walsh discusses how she dealt with two periods of depression in her career, how injuries and playing abroad created further mental challenges and how she dealt with each obstacle both on and off the field.
In episode two, Skinner is joined by Alex Davis, an England rugby sevens player who was ruled out of Team GB’s rugby sevens squad for Rio 2016 just days before competition due to an ankle injury. Davis speaks about the implications losing out on the Olympics and the passing of his father had on his mental health and how he turned things around, with his sights now firmly set on Tokyo.
The last instalment features modern pentathlete Samantha Murray, who won gold at London 2012. Murray speaks openly with Skinner about how she manages her mental health and the challenges of isolation, identity and retirement as an elite athlete as well as the positive impact mental wellbeing had on her career.
Team GB in Conversation With host Callum Skinner commented: “As someone who has struggled with my own mental health, this is an initiative that sits very close to my heart.
“As an elite athlete it is so important not only to look after your physical health, but also to pay attention to your mental health. From my own experience, being able to talk opening with someone about the challenges I was facing with my mental health was incredibly invaluable, so I hope that this series may also encourage others – professional athletes or not – to seek out someone to speak to if they are struggling.”
All three episodes will be available to view in full on Team GB’s YouTube channel, with snippets shared across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Episode one: Team GB in Conversation with Helen Richardson-Walsh – Thursday 21 May
Episode two: Team GB in Conversation with Alex Davis – Friday 22 May
Episode three: Team GB in Conversation with Samantha Murray – Saturday 22 May
Team GB is also supporting Mental Health Awareness Week alongside its Official Charity Partner British Red Cross with a new campaign ‘Kindness is What Makes Us’.
Kindness is What Makes Us features a host of Team GB athletes from nine summer and winter sports reciting an emotive poem, highlighting the importance of kindness to ourselves and others to support our mental health, especially within the current climate. For more details click here.