Professional sports psychiatrist to elite athletes

Sports | Dance | Performance

Working with athletes across a range of sports, dance & performance disciplines, Dr Allan’s extensive career as an early adopter of Sports Psychiatry has led him to become one of the most trusted and sought-after professionals in his field.

Providing wellbeing and performance support to elite athletes and teams, Dr Allan works with some of the sport industry’s most renowned organisations.

Dr Allan Johnston

Providing mental healthcare and supporting the mental wellbeing of Olympic and Paralympic athletes, professional boxers, dancers and team sport players.

Dr Allan is the Consultant Performance Psychiatrist to The League Managers Association (LMA), helping to guide and shape football’s Mental Health and Wellbeing programme.

He is a Sport Psychiatrist for The English Institute of Sport (EIS) Mental Health Expert Panel which supports the mental health & wellbeing of athletes in the TeamGB Olympic & Paralympic teams.

Allan is also the Sports Psychiatrist at Spire Perform, the Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Clinic at Spire Leeds Hospital and the Sports Psychiatrist to Premiership Football team Burnley F.C..

In February 2020, Allan welcomed a representative of Prince William and the Royal Foundation to Burnley F.C. to share learning around mental health and football. This contributed to the publication in July 2020 of the Mentally Healthy Football declaration committing to building a mentally healthy culture at all levels of the game.

Recognised by the UK Anti-Doping Authority (UKAD) as having specialist expertise in the assessment and management of ADHD, he sits on the UKAD Specialist Register for ADHD Therapeutic Use Exemption Assessments.

He co-founded The Royal College of Psychiatrists Sports & Exercise Psychiatry Special Interest Group (SEPSIG) to deliver education and governance for UK Sports Psychiatrists.

Dr Allan also works as a Consultant Psychiatrist for the NHS. He has published a number of peer reviewed research papers and written chapters for educational textbooks.

He lives with his family in Yorkshire.

Dr Allan and Stevie Ward at a recording of the Mantality podcast
Logos of orhanisations Dr Allan has worked with
Dr Allan has worked with athletes, players, managers and coaches from the above organisations

Career History

Nov 2019 – present

Burnley Football Club

Consultant Performance Psychiatrist

Role: To develop the club’s mental health strategy and provide mental health care for the 1st team, academy players and coaching staff alike.

Feb 2019 – present

League Managers Association

Consultant Performance Psychiatrist

Role: To guide and shape the Mental Health and Wellbeing programme, providing mental healthcare for managers across the Premiership, EFL divisions, the Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship.

Dec 2018 – present

English Institute of Sport

Sports Psychiatrist to the Mental Health Expert Panel

Role: To provide mental healthcare and support the mental wellbeing of all athletes within the Team GB Olympic and Paralympic teams in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

2017 – present

Spire Healthcare Group plc

Sports Psychiatrist

Role: Working with a multi-disciplinary team at the Sports Medicine & Physiotherapy Clinic at Spire Leeds Hospital in Roundhay to provide support for athletes across a range of sports, dance and performance disciplines following an injury, accident or surgery.


2002 – present

National Health Service

Consultant Psychiatrist

Role: Dr Allan joined the NHS in 2002. He trained at The Royal London Hospital, East London & the City Mental Health Trust, Leeds Mental Health Teaching NHS Trust and Sheffield Health & Social Care NHS trust. In 2010 Allan gained his CCT in Psychiatry with an endorsement in Liaison Psychiatry and took up a post as Consultant Psychiatrist to Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.


2016 – 2020

The Royal College of Psychiatrists

Finance Officer (Deputy Chair)

Role: In 2016, Allan co-founded the Royal College of Psychiatrists Sports & Exercise Psychiatry Special Interest Group (SEPSIG) to deliver education and governance for UK Sports Psychiatrists. SEPSIG is the Royal Colleges fastest growing Special Interest Group, providing the education, training and governance framework to those looking to enter the field of Sports Psychiatry in the UK. After serving a 4 year term on the executive as Deputy Chair, he remains an active supporter of the Group.



2012 – 2014

The Bradford Bulls

Rugby League Sports Psychiatrist

Role: The Bradford Bulls RLFC employed Allan as the world’s first Rugby League Sports Psychiatrist in 2012/13 and 2013/14 seasons during which time, Dr Johnston worked as part of the backroom staff of coach Francis Cummins.


2008 – 2011

University of Sheffield

Honourary Clinical Lecturer

Role: Working in the academic department of Psychiatry at the Northern General Hospital in Sheffield Dr Johnston developed a series of Psychopharmacology lectures for postgraduate trainee doctors and helped co-ordinate the academic training programme.


Untitled design (3)

2012 – Present

State Of Mind

Role: Trustee and Sports Psychiatrist

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.

Untitled design (4)

2020 – Present

Sports Chaplaincy UK

Role: Ambassador

Allan is an Ambassador for Sports Chaplaincy UK, a charity providing spiritual and pastoral care to professional and amateur sport.



1997 – 2002

Queen Mary University of London

Educational institution: St Bartholomew’s and The Royal London school of Medicine & Dentistry
Degree: Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery – MBBS Field Of Study Medicine



Untitled design (6)


Yorkshire’s Doctor of the Year 2019

Dr Allan was voted Yorkshire’s Doctor of the Year 2019 at the YEP healthcare awards – the first occasion that this award has been presented to a Psychiatrist.

Untitled design (5)


Everything in Sport 2019

Dr Allan was awarded the Everything in Sport 2019 national award for supporting the mental health of female athletes.


2013 – 2018

Derbyshire Suicide Prevention Strategy Group

In his NHS role, Dr Allan chaired the Derbyshire Suicide Prevention Strategy Group 2013-2018 and led a range of innovations in the region. From 2015, over 3 successive years, suicide rates in Derbyshire almost halved. In 2018 the Group’s work with Public Health on training General Practitioners in Suicide Prevention strategies was nominated for a Health Service Journal (HSJ) award.

Papers and Publications

The first ever case study book in sports psychiatry entitled “Case Studies in Sports Psychiatry”, published July 2020, by Cambridge University Press.

It was a great pleasure to write the Boxing chapter for this book with friends & colleagues.

🥊 Marwan Al-Dawoud 🥊 Cyrus Pattinson 🥊

Thanks to the Editors (and friends!) Dr Amit D Mistry, Alan Currie, Thomas McCabe.


Dr Allan Johnston and pro cyclists, Rachel Atherton, Tom Pidcock and Kye Whyte interviewed for Redbull article, Mind over matter: how professional cyclists get into the ‘success’ zone. First published Sept 23, 2020. (Author Maria David)

Prof Alan Currie, Dr Allan Johnston and colleagues. Contribution to Management of Mental Health Emergencies in Elite Athletes: A Narrative Review. Special edition of British Journal of Sports Medicine. First published May 16, 2019.

Johnston A, Sanchez E. Resilience in Dance – Building Psychological Skills. One magazine, issue 6. Spring 2019.

McCabe T, Johnston A. The Importance of Sports Psychiatry. British Journal of Sports Medicine (2018).

Johnston A, McAllister-Williams R.H. Chapter 10; Psychotropic Drug Prescribing. The Oxford Handbook of Sports Psychiatry Oxford Psychiatry Library Series (2016).

Currie A, Johnston A. Psychiatric Disorders: The Psychiatrists contribution to sport. The International Review of Psychiatry Sports Psychiatry 2016: A Developing Field (2016).

Linnington H, Johnston A, Kapur N, Gill P. Chapter 8: Accident and Emergency Psychiatry and Self Harm. Royal College of Psychiatrists textbook Seminars in Liaison Psychiatry. Gaskell Publications (2012).

Abbas M, Walton R, Johnston A, Chikoore M. Evaluation of Teaching an integrated case formulation approach on quality of case formulations: A Randomised Controlled Trial. The Psychiatrist (Psychiatric Bulletin) (2012).

Abbasi Y, Johnston A, Broadhurst M et al. Liaison Psychiatry: Can service development fulfil educational needs? Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine (2009).

Farrand P, Rowe R M, Johnston A, Murdoch H. Prevalence, age of onset and demographic relationships of different areca nut habits amongst children in Tower Hamlets, London. British Dental Journal (2001).

Receive notifications of new videos and events straight to your inbox