October 2018, Events

Tackling Mental Health in Elite Sport

Mental Health Symposium - 20.11.2018

More than twenty percent of athletes experience mental health challenges during their time as elite performers

This symposium, intended for anyone working in or with elite level sport, will be an informative and educational opportunity to grow awareness of mental health issues in elite sport.

Covering a broad range of mental health topics, with high quality, experienced specialists, this symposium aims to broaden the understanding of the sporting community of mental health and its management.

It will be a valuable event for coaches, administrators, sport leaders and those who support individuals in high performance sport.

Preliminary Programme
08.45 Welcome and Introduction
08.55 Prevalence of Mental Health in HP Setting
09.15 Mental Illness in Various HP Settings
09.45 Athlete Perspective on Mental Health
10.00 Eating Disorders in Elite Athletes
10.15 Personality Disorders and Elite Sport
10.30 Panel Discussion
10.45 Break
11.00 Post-Pinnacle Event
11.15 The Impact of Depression and Anxiety on Identity
11.30 Surviving to Thriving: Supporting Athlete Wellness in Performance Settings
11.45 Mental Health Services at a Glance
12.00 Panel Discussion
12.40 Closing


Mimoza Soldatovic
Presentation Title:
Mental Health Services at a Glance
Sarah Beable
Presentation Title:
An overview of mental health in elite sport; where are we at
Dom Vettise
Presentation Title:
The Impact of Depression and anxiety on Identity
Eve Hermansson-Webb
Presentation Title:
Eating Disorders in Elite Athletes.
Bruce Hamilton

Natalie Hogg
Presentation Title:
Surviving to Thriving: Supporting athlete wellness in performance settings.
Ceri Evans
Presentation Title:
Mental health in sport: questions and lessons from elsewhere
Sarah De Wattignar
Presentation Title:
The Recognition and Treatment of Personality Disorder in Elite Sport
Alexis Pritchard
Presentation Title:
The Comedown: Athlete Wellness in the Post Games Period
Alex Maloney
Presentation Title:
Athlete Perspectives on Mental Health

Key Speakers

Dr Bruce Hamilton

Bruce is the Director of Performance Health for High Performance Sport NZ and the NZ Olympic Committee. In this role he is accountable for the provision of health care services to NZ’s elite Olympic and Carded HPSNZ Athletes.

In addition to undergraduate degrees in Physical Education and Medicine, Bruce has postgraduate qualifications in Tropical Medicine, Sports Law and is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Sports Medicine.  In 2017 he was awarded a Medical Doctorate from Otago University for his research investigating hamstring muscle injuries.

Bruce has attended four World Track and Field Championships, two World Triathlon Championships, four Commonwealth and three Olympic Games in a medical capacity.

More Less
Dr Sarah Beable

Sarah is a Sport and Exercise Physician at Axis Sports Medicine and is the lead specialist at Axis Alpine in Queenstown.

Sarah has worked with athletes from a wide range of sports and attended the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 and the Rio Olympics 2016 as part of the NZOC Health Team.

Sarah worked as the Medical Director for Cycling New Zealand, a position she held for  almost 4 years. Her past team experience also includes working with a variety of teams including the Silver Ferns, Capital Pulse Netball, Wellington Phoenix Football, Counties Manukau Rugby, as well as a wide range of endurance sports and events.

Sarah herself has competed in a range of sports, namely netball and athletics representatively in her younger years, moving to long distance triathlon later on competing at multiple age group world championships, and also ticking the Hawaii Ironman World Championships off the bucket list. Although she no longer competes she continues to do recreational endurance events, and an avid believer of exercise is medicine, thoroughly enjoying basing herself in beautiful Queenstown.

Sarah runs private clinics in both Queenstown and Auckland specialising in low energy availability in the active athlete, and the range of issues that this can encompass. She recently published research on Depression and Associated Life Stress in Elite Athletes and continues to be passionate about optimising mental well-being in the sporting population.

More Less
Dr. Eve Hermansson-Webb

Dr. Eve Hermansson-Webb is a senior clinical psychologist specialising in disordered eating.

Dr. Eve Hermansson-Webb is a senior clinical psychologist specialising in disordered eating. She completed her undergraduate studies at Victoria University and her postgraduate studies at Otago University, graduating with a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology and her PhD in Psychology. For the past 4 years she has worked in a specialist eating disorder clinic within the public health system, providing assessment and treatment to individuals with moderate-to-severe mental health issues. She has recently assumed the role of Clinical Coordinator of the service’s adult treatment team. In 2016, she attained a Certificate of Proficiency in Sport Psychology at Massey University.

More Less
Dom Vettise

Dom is a proud father and husband. He is dedicated to looking after his family, his wellbeing and just being a good Kiwi bloke.

Outside of his home life Dom is a registered clinical psychologist. His education began at Otago University where he gained a Bachelor of Science, and Master of Science (with Distinction) in Psychology. He moved to the Waikato to complete his Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology and began working within Forensic and Correctional settings.

Currently Dom works in private practice with a broad range of psychological difficulties and has particular interest in clinical, sleep and performance psychology.

Dom is also a contractor with High Performance Sport NZ and primarily works with Black Ferns Rugby Sevens team and Canoe Racing.

More Less
Mimoza Soldatovic

Mimoza Soldatovic is Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Professional Lead for Psychology and Psychotherapy at Waitemata DHB.

She has over 20 years of clinical experience in variety of settings, such as community, alcohol and drugs, and inpatient.

Through her clinical work, she developed interest and expertise working with clients with complex presentations, mostly personality disorders with multiple co-morbid problems.

In her leadership role, she is part of the Senior Management Team for Specialist Mental Health & Addiction Services and she also oversees the psychologists working in physical health at Waitemata DHB.

In this role, she is involved in developing and implementing systems and policies that lead to improvement of professional practice and overall service delivery.

More Less
Natalie Hogg

Natalie Hogg qualified as a Clinical Psychologist in 2005 and has post-graduate qualifications in neuropsychology.

She moved from Ireland to New Zealand in 2008 to work for the Department of Corrections. She is based in Wellington. In the past three years she has been working in the field of sport psychology. She currently contracts for High Performance Sport New Zealand. She also works with Hurricanes and  Lions Rugby, Wellington Cricket, Central Pulse Netball, Phoenix Football, and the New Zealand School of Dance.


More Less
Dr Ceri Evans

After graduating with distinction in Medicine in his native New Zealand, Ceri was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University.

While gaining First Class Honours in Experimental Psychology, he played professional football in the English first division.

Ceri then trained in psychiatry at The Maudsley Hospital in London, specialised as a forensic psychiatrist and completed a PhD on traumatic memory based on interviews with over 100 violent offenders.

As the clinical director of a Regional Forensic Psychiatric Service for 8 years in New Zealand, he led national projects on violence risk assessments and mental health screening in prisons, has published in peer-reviewed psychiatric journals, and has given expert evidence in leading criminal and civil cases. In addition to private clinical practice, Ceri is today applying his medical expertise to a wider purpose as an independent consultant, working internationally with leading medical, sporting, corporate, government, legal, military and law enforcement clients in the area of ‘Performance Under Pressure’.

More Less
Dr Sarah de Wattignar

Sarah graduated from the University of Auckland in 2012, with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

She completed her internship in Corrections prior to moving into Forensic Mental Health. Her time is currently divided between High Performance Sport New Zealand, where she works with Women’s Hockey, Adult Community Mental Health  working primarily within the Dialectical Behavioural Program and Sports Psychology Associates where she works in private practice, with adult and adolescence athletes and their families. She is trained in a number of therapeutic modalities including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.  In addition to her work with elite and developing athletes, Sarah has experience with clients with a range of emotional and behavioural issues including, but not limited to, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, self harm, violence, grief and psychosis. Her work is influenced by a longstanding interest in the factors that enhance therapeutic effectiveness.

More Less
Alexis Pritchard

Alexis and her mother left Cape Town, South Africa and arrived in Auckland on 24th January 2000 with their four suitcases.  

Alexis and her mother left Cape Town, South Africa and arrived in Auckland on 24th January 2000 with their four suitcases.     At 19 she stumbled upon boxing as a way to get fit.  She never dreamed of being an athlete – least of all a boxer! But those things both happened. Over the last 15 years, she has proudly represented New Zealand abroad.  She placed 5th at the 2012 Olympic Games, competed at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and won a Bronze medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.  While competing, she also completed a Bachelor in Sports Science and a Bachelor of Health Science in Physiotherapy. In 2014, she started her own clinic, Rebuild with Lex and in 2015, Alexis and her husband Cam opened Wreck Room, a boxing and fitness gym.

More Less
Alex Maloney

Alex combined with Molly Meech to win silver in the 49erFX at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the pair’s first Olympics, and have set their sights on going one better in Tokyo in 2020.

A representative of the Murrays Bay Sailing Club, Alex has sailed all her life, growing up on the family cruising boat and going on to prove herself as a talented competitive sailor. She was third overall at the 2007 Optimist world championships and went on to claim gold at the 2009 420 world championships and silver in the 29er at the 2010 Youth Sailing World Championships.

When the 49erFX skiff was announced as an Olympic event in 2013, Alex and Molly quickly launched their Olympic campaign and went on to win the inaugural 49erFX world championship crown that year.

The pair are now coached by Nathan Handley, who helped Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie to Olympic gold (London 2012) and silver (Rio 2016) and was eighth with Dan Slater in the 49er at the 2000 Sydney Olympics

More Less