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By Sunday People
Olympic star Tasha Danvers has a new role as ambassador for a mental health charity, after talking of her suicide bid.
The courageous athlete gained many admirers and helped countless others by opening up in an emotional interview with The People last week. Tasha, 34, who won a 400m hurdles bronze for Britain in Beijing four years ago, told how she became desperately ill while training for London 2012.
Now Rethink Mental Illness, one of Britain’s biggest mental health charities which helps 60,000 people a year, has recruited her.
Boss Paul Jenkins said: “Tasha Danvers has shown incredible bravery in talking so openly about experiences of depression and attempting suicide.
REVELATION: “Her words will help others to speak up when they need help. That must be a good thing.”
She will be aiding Rethink projects including their campaign on sport and mental health to be launched during the Olympics next month.
Tasha said: “I’d like to put something together to say sports psychologists aren’t just about getting an edge for competition, they should be able to help with everyday life too.”
She told us: “I had a fantastic response to the article in The People from so many. I was nervous talking about my mental health. I worried people would think I was mad. I have to get work like everyone else now I’m retired from athletics. But the response made me realise I did the right thing.
“Also now I will be working as a broadcaster for ITV during the Olympics so I still feel part of it.
“One girl who contacted me said she had injuries and was getting depressed and had started self-harming.
“She wasn’t at Olympic level but her sport was important for her.
“So my speaking out in The People worked because if just one person is able to realise they can talk to someone about depression it’s a success.
“Others contacted me about getting off tablets. One had just been prescribed them and was full of dread. To be able to help makes it all worthwhile.”
Celebrities who have backed their campaigns include Judi Dench, Alastair Campbell, Andrew Flintoff and Jonny Wilkinson. Tasha, from London, was on anti-depressants to deal with a marriage break-up and being away from her son Jade, five, during training.
People last week She recalled: “I would be beating myself up about not coping and in the end I just wanted to disappear.”
An injury on top of the emotional turmoil and depression was the final straw and she took an overdose of tranquillisers last June but survived.
Tasha has seen our article posted on websites by readers interested in the subject from as far afield as Sri Lanka, Nigeria, the Americas and Jamaica.
She added: “I’m only too pleased to get involved with Rethink as it is obviously doing such a good job.”