The Olympic champion has spoken out about how she used to self-harm during the height of her athletics career and her words will certainly come as welcome support for the growing number of girls going through the same struggle

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Dame Kelly Holmes is an inspiration in many ways - for both her accomplishments on and off the running track. Having won gold in the 800m and 1500m races in the 2004 Athens Olympics, the decorated athlete has also been extremely open about her battles with depression over the years and has previously spoken out about how it needed to be “shouted about more.” At Saturday’s Health and Wellbeing Live show, the double Olympic champion opened up further about her experiences by sharing that a year before her 2004 accolades she was “cutting” herself regularly “to release the anguish” she experienced. She added, “At my lowest, I was cutting myself with scissors every day that I was injured.” She also shared an image taken straight after she was injured during the World Athletics Championships in 1997. It was one of seven injuries that led her to self-harm.

Her willingness to speak so honestly about such a difficult stage in her life will no doubt help others struggling with similar problems - especially when taking into account recent stats. New NHS data shows that the number of times a girl aged 17 or under has been admitted to hospital in England because of self-harm has increased significantly by 68% - a rise from 10,500 to more than 17,500 a year over the past decade. Stress, social media and growing levels of insecurity and low self-esteem have been highlighted as some of the key reasons behind the worrying trend. The increase among boys was found to be 26%.

The most important takeaway from Kelly though is her message of hope - “My biggest message to people is that you can get out of that and you can still achieve,” she said. "There is always a light at the end of the tunnel."

If you or someone you know needs support in this regard, don’t suffer in silence. There is help at hand and some valuable online resources with further information. The Mind  and  websites are particularly helpful and provide a good breakdown of the options and support organisations that are available.