UK Athletics appoints Priory Healthcare for mental health services

Priory Healthcare has been selected by UK Athletics to offer support to athletes outside the World Class Programme (WCP) and across the wider sport.

The WCP is UK Sport’s National Lottery funded initiative to support the delivery of success at the world’s most significant sporting events. 

The appointment was made following a recent review of mental health services and support available to athletes who represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland as well as Athletics Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. 

The review recognised that many athletes who compete at the highest level but are not supported on the WCP experience the same stresses and demands in relation to training, competition, as well as balancing these requirements alongside employment and financial living cost responsibilities

Priory Healthcare will provide non programme athletes with a clear self-referral signposting system to promptly access a nationwide network of expertise via the Priory’s Wellbeing Centres and Hospitals.  

Gair Stott, chief operating officer at Priory Healthcare, said: ‘The visibility of today’s athletes can exacerbate the pressures they are under, professionally and personally. 

‘Some people assume that mental health issues in athletes are rare, as they’re perceived to be extremely physically healthy with fewer psychological issues. 

‘In truth, mental illness is likely to be as common in athletes as it is in the general population. With access to our psychiatrists, psychologists and therapists, Priory Healthcare hopes it can support the UK’s athletes’ mental health, alongside their physical health, which has true benefits all round.’ 

UK Athletics is the national governing body of the leading Olympic and Paralympic sport in Britain.