RSM webinar: Sport and mental health

RSM webinar: Sport and mental health: What can psychiatry teach us? This is the first of a series of Mind Matters webinars presented by the RSM Psychiatry section – Thursday 30 July, 6.00pm to 7.00pm

This webinar is an exploration of the relationship between sports and mental health in both the general population and in elite athletes. Professor Henrietta Bowden-Jones OBE, President-elect of the Psychiatry Section at RSM, will be interviewing Dr Amit Mistry and Dr Allan Johnston to discuss some of their key work related to breaking down the mental health stigma and managing mental illness within sport.

The speakers will highlight the recent publication of “Case Studies in Sports Psychiatry”, the first ever sports psychiatry book to have been co-authored by psychiatrists, sport physicians and athletes, as well as addressing important topics surrounding the role of a psychiatrist within sports, and giving practical insights into working with GB athletes experiencing mental illness.

Both invited speakers are senior members of the RCPsych Sport & Exercise Psychiatry Special Interest Group (SEPSIG), a nationwide group of over 1000 Psychiatrists interested in elite sport mental health and exercise promotion within severe mental illness.

Key speakers:

Dr Amit D Mistry is a dual trained in general adult and old age psychiatry and is Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ (RCPsych) Sport and Exercise Psychiatry Special Interest Group (SEPSIG). Amit is lead author of “Case Studies in Sport Psychiatry” book by Cambridge University Press (July 2020). This is the first ever joint publication between leading sport psychiatrists, sport physicians and professional athletes.

His published research is related to exercise, exercise addiction, eating disorders, athlete mental health and well-being within the sport, leisure and fitness industry. He is an expert panel member for Mind charity’s physical activity programme and is on the NHS clinical entrepreneurship programme. Amit is an ex-county rugby union player and represented Team GB at the International Rugby Tag Federation World Cup.

Dr Allan Johnston has been appointed to three new positions within the world of sport. The English Institute of Sport (EIS) employed Dr Johnston as Sports Psychiatrist to the Mental Health Expert Panel supporting our Great Britain Olympic and Paralympic athletes in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The League Managers Association (LMA) appointed Dr Johnston as Consultant Performance Psychiatrist in a new role to guide and shape the Mental Health and Wellbeing programme for Premier League and Football League managers, to develop the game wide wellbeing strategy and provide one to one support for football managers and coaches. Burnley Football Club appointed Dr Johnston to a new role in Premiership Football in leading the development of the clubs mental health strategy and provision of mental health care for both 1st team and academy players and coaching staff. 

The Bradford Bulls RLFC employed Allan as the world’s first Rugby League Sports Psychiatrist in 2012. He now works with athletes across a range of sports, dance and performance disciplines. Since leaving the Bradford Bulls, as Medical Director and Sports Psychiatrist to Synergy Medicine Ltd Allan has developed an independent sports medicine service in Leeds that works with all levels of conditions and injuries in Athletes and Dancers. Allan works with clients on all aspects of Wellbeing and Performance and how these interrelate. As part of this work he has been recognised by the UK Anti-Doping authority (UKAD) as having special expertise in the assessment and management of ADHD. Dr Johnston sits on the UKAD specialist register for ADHD Therapeutic Use Exemption assessments. 

He is a co-founder of, and then elected to, the position of Deputy Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Sports and Exercise Psychiatry Special Interest Group – the Royal Colleges fastest growing Special Interest Group. Via this national group Dr Johnston co-ordinates training for UK Sports Psychiatrists. 

With a strong passion for all sport, Allan works on a voluntary basis as Sports Psychiatrist and Trustee to State of Mind Sport, a charity aiming to improve the mental health and wellbeing of athletes and their communities.  

In his NHS role Dr Johnston chaired the Derbyshire Suicide Prevention Strategy Group 2013-2018 and led a range of innovations in the region including the development of the regional strategy, a greater involvement of service users in co-producing their own care and chairing Suicide Prevention conferences and World Suicide Prevention Day initiatives.  Since 2015, over 3 successive years, suicide rates in Derbyshire almost halved with reduced rates seen particularly in men. 

He has recently been awarded the Everything in Sport 2019 national award for supporting the mental health of female athletes and was made Yorkshire’s Doctor of the Year 2019 at the YEP healthcare awards. He lives with his family in Yorkshire. 

This is a unique opportunity to participate in discussions related to sports psychology, and explore the latest evidence and questions surrounding the topic of mental health in sports. An interactive Q&A session will be held after the interview.

Join in the conversation online by using #RSMLive
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