Spring Meeting – March 2019

Sport and Exercise Psychiatry Special Interest Group

Spring Meeting

Manchester Institute of Health and Performance (MIHP)

Friday 22/3/19


The sixth meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Sport and Exercise Psychiatry Special Interest Group (SEPSIG) took place at the Manchester Institute of Health and Performance (MIHP) on Friday 22 March 2019. All at SEPSIG were very grateful to our hosts at MIHP for providing the meeting facilities and contributing to the programme.

Women in Sport

The day’s events were opened by SEPSIG Chair, Professor Alan Currie. He welcomed those who were attending a SEPSIG event for the first time (gratifyingly a large number) as well as those who are more regular attenders at these events then introduced the first symposium on women in sport.

The first speaker was Hayley Jarvis who is head of physical activity at Mind. She has been involved in the ‘Get Set to Go’ programme looking at physical activity in support of mental health. She presented information specific to women’s participation beginning with an enlightening anecdote about the special problems faced when getting started. She then went onto describe the many ways in which women can be better supported to engage in physical activity.

The second speaker was Dr Rebecca Robinson. Dr Robinson is not only a consultant in sports and exercise medicine but also an accomplished athlete. She recently published a well-received article in the sports press on Relative Energy Deficiency – Sports (RED-S). Her talk covered these issues and others specific to women’s sports such as menstrual difficulties. She highlighted the TrainBrave and SmartHER projects.

The first session was concluded by Dr John Rogers who is known to many in the sport and exercise psychiatry field having contributed to previous mental health and sport events. He is based at MIHP and although his practice is broad he has a special interest in fatigue syndromes, over-training and disorder eating. He presented information on the many facilities available within MIHP and the nature of the medical and sport science available at the institute.

Mental Health Expert Panel (MHEP) – English Institute of Sport

There followed a presentation by Dr James Bell who is the newly appointed lead for mental health at the English Institute of Sport (EIS). He described the origins of the MHEP and desire to provide better support for mental health as well as address mental health problems in the high performance environment. One proposal is to develop a register of sport psychiatrists who would be available for consultation for EIS funded athletes.

The Psychiatrist in Sport

After a light lunch and a brief impromptu tour of the MIHP facilities, the afternoon session began with Dr Catherine Lester presenting her data on the mental health support that is available to athletes. She has surveyed over 200 clinicians including sport and exercise medicine specialists, those working in primary care, as well as psychiatrists and sports psychologists. Her results illustrate the great variability in support when an athlete encounters a mental health problem. It is noteworthy that the most accessible service is sports psychology with clinical psychology and psychiatry support being less readily available.

She was followed by Dr Tim Rogers who is again well known to the sport and exercise psychiatry community. His talk was entitled “Building a Mentally Healthy Team Culture”. He touched not only on how culture can help to determine performance on the field, but can also contribute to mental health more generally. He highlighted Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson’s independent report to the UK Government entitled “Duty of Care in Sport”. Dame Tanni’s report highlighted that in some areas the culture within sports is not as positive as it should be. He concluded with a preview of mental health support available big the “Big White Wall’.

The session concluded with Dr Alan Johnson describing the many ways in which psychiatrists have developed the expertise in sport and made themselves available to the world of sports medicine.

Business Meeting

The final event of the day was the SEPSIG business meeting.


The autumn meeting of SEPSIG (SEPSIG 7) will be back in London at the ISEH on Tottenham Court Road on September 20th. Speakers will include Brendon Stubbs, an international authority on exercise and mental health. Sessions are also planned on suicide in sport and psychiatric sequelae of concussion. SAVE THE DATE!

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