Team GB gymnast Ellie Downie has encouraged people in need to seek therapy after being helped by a counsellor following the sudden death of her brother.

Ellie said her world was “flipped upside down” when her brother Josh died last year from a cardiac arrest while playing cricket. Josh was 24 and had an undiagnosed heart condition.

Ellie opened up about taking the first step to see a counsellor and encouraged other people to seek therapy.

“It flipped my world upside down,” said Ellie, who has won 10 European Championship medals and winner of two World Championship bronze medals.

“It was quite hard to admit to myself that I needed to see somebody.

“Now that I’ve started seeing one it really doesn’t feel like that big a deal.

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“If you need to go and talk to someone, if you need to get help, then go get it.”

Ellie added: “I feel like I’m starting to come out of the other side now, which is nice.

“Life is just so short. You’ve got to live every day and be happy. That’s the approach I’m taking this year.”

Ellie was speaking on BBC Breakfast, where she was joined by her sister Becky, who is also a medal-winning Team GB gymnast.

The Olympians were giving their support to the British Heart Foundation’s campaign The Circuit, which aims to get unregistered defibrillators added to the centralised network for easy access in emergencies.

Becky said: “If you don’t have access to them, they can’t be used.

"There are tens of thousands that are out there that aren’t registered and aren’t being used, and it’s just a matter of minutes that will save a life.

"So it’s about making people aware and, hopefully, a lot more lives can be saved.”

To find a bereavement counsellor visit our Therapist Directory.


Picture credit: BBC/BBC Breakfast