The Mental Health of Athletes – Who Cares?


The Mental Health of Athletes – Who Cares?

Meet the speaker: Dr Kate Goodger – C.Psychol.

Spotlight on Dr Kate Goodger

Dr Kate Goodger is a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist and has worked with Team GB at the last 6 summer and winter Olympics.  She works currently as the Director of Education at Professor Steve Peter’s consultancy Chimp Management.
Kate’ s applied has spanned supporting athletes, coaches, support staff and senior management in the daily training and environment and major championships,  as an ‘immersed’ practitioner and member of a multidisciplinary Sports Science and Sports Medicine team.  She is also a published researcher in the field of Sport Psychology and more specifically burnout in athletes.
Her supervisor is a Psychiatrist (Steve Peters…heard of him?) and her interest in Sports Psychiatry specifically has grown through her with Professor Alan Currie as a contributor to the recently published manual Sports Psychiatry (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Following her passion…

Kate’s passion for sport began with a childhood of family sport and an ambition to be a PE teacher. Kate taught PE and geography in secondary schools before undertaking a Masters and PhD in Sport Psychology.  She is currently working with British Equestrian to support a new management team for the Tokyo Olympic cycle and Team GB Women’s Curling in their lead into the Pyeong Chang 2018 winter Olympics
She loves helping people and teaching. She is fascinated by what helps and hinders change and how we can develop skills to manage the mind to achieve personal and professional success. Through her work in elite sport Kate has helped develop a number of training and mentoring programmes to help develop athlete and coach emotional and psychological skills. An example of her work for the London 2012 Olympics was working as a lead consultant for the British Olympic Association to develop the ‘First Games: Home Games’ programme. The London Olympics saw the largest Team GB compliment of athlete and staff of any modern Olympics. Approximately two thirds of athletes were also attending London as their first Olympics. To help support the preparation of these athletes, the First Games: Home Games initiative created a unique multi-media programme of key ‘lessons learned’ from Olympians who had performed at a home Olympics or Commonwealths, this included Michael Johnson and Ian Thorpe.
Kate thoroughly enjoys meeting new people and learning about the psychological demands and challenges of new environments and cultures.

What is her role in the conference?

Kate will be presenting on ‘Psychological Treatments: An Overview’. The focus of this session will be highlight popular psychological perspectives and techniques that are currently used in the elite sport context, and also to discuss some of the practical considerations of the sport context that can influence success of interventions.

Why should you attend the Conference – Kate says….

There is too often an assumption that because athletes are ‘physically fit’ that they must also be ‘mentally or emotionally fit’.  Certainly there are many athletes who have been able to optimise their minds to support performance, yet there are also those who struggle with challenges around actually being an athlete, and also mental athletes that parallel the general population. This conference gives a unique forum to discuss these critically important issues and to share practice and expertise. This is an exciting opportunity for all and I feel very privileged to be part of it
Why is the Mental Health of Athletes important?
For all groups that comprise a nation’s population, I believe there is a social and moral responsibility to talk about and tackle mental health. We have heard so much reporting in the media around a ‘mental health crisis’, and sport is not exempt from this.  Indeed developing ‘best practice’ in working with athletes may generate more discussion on this health issue publically and a greater acceptability to talk about the issue more openly and widely.

Posted by Emma Dickinson
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