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The 7th biannual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists Sport and Exercise Psychiatry Special Interest Group (SEPSIG) was held at the Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH) on Tottenham Court Road, London on 20 September 2019. Over 40 delegates attended and the topics covered included exercise interventions, concussion and suicide in sport.

Exercise and Mental Health

Events began with a short introduction from SEPSIG chair Professor Alan Currie and SEPSIG finance officer Allan Johnston followed by a review of exercise interventions in mental illness by Brendon Stubbs. Brendon is Head Physiotherapist at the South London and Maudsley Trust and a Lecturer at King’s College. He is an accomplished researcher on physical activity and mental health and is lead author of the European Psychiatric Association guidelines on exercise in mental illness. He gave a compelling overview of this important topic and confidently and expertly fielded the many questions and comments that his presentation generated.  


After a short coffee break Phil Hopley, a sports psychiatrist with Cognacity chaired a symposium of concussion experts beginning with Simon Kemp who is a Sports Medicine specialist and Medical Services Director for the Rugby Football Union. He is a member of World Rugby’s Medicine, Science and Research and Concussion working groups. His talk was entitled ‘Rugby’s approach to managing concussions’. He was followed by Richard Sylvester, a consultant neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. Richard runs a rehabilitation clinic addressing cognitive issues after traumatic brain injury and presented on ‘Lessons from the ISEH Complex Concussion Clinic’. The session concluded with Tim Rogers a senior member of SEPSIG and experienced sports psychiatrist with Cognacity who described a patient case study and led a discussion on assessment and management.  

After lunch, and in a timely symposium coming shortly after World Suicide Prevention Day, two leading SEPSIG members presented their work. Thomas McCabe is a higher trainee in in Glasgow and has published works on suicide in sport. He presented an overview of a number of issues relating to suicide in sport including epidemiology and important associations. He was followed by Allan Johnston, a Consultant Sports Psychiatrist who works with a number of sports organisations. From 2013-18 he chaired the Derbyshire Suicide Prevention Strategy Group and led a range of initiatives and projects which he described.  

As ever SEPSIG were indebted for the continued support of the Institute of Sport Exercise and Health and in particular Matt James and Emily Brown. Grateful thanks also to Catherine Langley from the Royal College of Psychiatrists for her patience and organisation in the staging of a meeting of this kind. All their efforts were appreciated and reflected in a very successful event.