Introducing the “Friendly Banks” initiative to promote mental health related to the countries participating in the FIFA World Cup

  • The 32 seats, representing each country participating in the FIFA World Cup, were created to promote mental health.
  • This announcement coincides with World Mental Health Day and the symbolic opening of Stadium 974 in Doha.
  • Her Excellency Sheikha Hind and Sir Mo Farah inaugurate the Bank of England during the Global Health Innovation Summit

A unique project to install purpose-built public seating was announced today to raise awareness of the critical importance of mental health and the role that football and sport in general can play in promoting mental well-being. 32 “Friendly Bank” is under construction and will be installed in prime locations in Doha, some of which are close to stadiums. These seats represent the countries that will compete in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The project is part of the Sports for Health coalition led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health. The aim is to demonstrate the importance of mental health and to provide advice on promoting mental well-being, with particular attention to the essential role of physical activity and sport. The initiative is supported by FIFA, the Supreme Committee for Organization and Legacy, and Global Health Innovation SummitThen go friendship seats and the WHO Alliance for International Health Coverage.

On the occasion of World Mental Health Day, a sample of the first seats that were built at Stadium 974 in Doha are presented today. This stadium is one of the stadiums where the FIFA World Cup will be held this year. Friendly Banks Initiative» It was symbolically opened with the presentation of the corresponding Bank of England at the Global Health Innovation Summit, an event organized by the Qatar Foundation. More banks will open on World Mental Health Day.

English athlete Sir Mo Farah, who with ten gold medals at the Olympics and World Championships, the most successful long-distance runner ever, has opened the BOE with Exma. Ms. Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice President and Director General of Qatar Foundation. Sitting on the bench, both spoke of sports and mental health as a symbolic acknowledgment of the initiative.

Exma. Mrs. Sheikha Hind said: “I was honored to meet Sir Mo. The fascinating story of how he left Mogadishu for London as a young man and the mental health issues he faced highlights the importance of taking the time to talk about our mental health. I am proud that this Qatar Foundation initiative helps highlight the importance of mental health in a practical and innovative way.”

The project is aligned with the common goals and campaigns of partner organizations, such as the campaign # communication (FIFA-WHO), the project Are you well? Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health and the innovative “Friendly Banking” initiative initially developed in Zimbabwe and supported by the World Health Organization. On previous occasions, the World Innovation Summit for Health has already promoted the concept of Friendship Banks, an initiative that also aims to promote physical activity as one of the main outcomes of the “Sport and Health” project. To this end, illustrations have been printed with easy and effective exercise tips that visitors can follow to improve their physical health on each seat.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, said: “Benches are a simple yet powerful tool for promoting mental health, from benches in parks where people congregate to benches in soccer fields where players and staff watch their teams play, to enjoy the joy and promise of sport and success. The Friendly Banks project clearly reminds us of how valuable the physical and mental health of all peoples and nations is and how, through sport, we can reach others as human beings in a spirit of solidarity and support.”

According to Exma. Dr. Hanan al-Kuwari, Minister of Public Health in Qatar, this project symbolizes tangibly and permanently the importance of the “Sports and Health” alliance and the goals it intends to achieve in the face of the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar. It is the first of its kind in the Middle East and the Arab world, in addition to the legacy that the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Public Health will leave for the future.

Specifically, the minister said: “Mental health is an essential component of the ‘Sports and Health’ alliance and our goal during and after the FIFA World Cup is to be friendly banks to enable Qatari residents and visitors to meet and ask ‘How are you?’ ? Take advantage of the opportunity to interact and perform physical activities.

For his part, the Exmo. Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Organization and Legacy, said: “We are proud to support this project and make the most of hosting the FIFA World Cup. The seats will be a constant reminder of the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East and the Arab world, while promoting the importance of mental health in groups across the country.

The final location of each of the 32 banks will soon be announced. Once installed, it will inform how residents and visitors of Qatar can visit banks in their country and those in other countries to show their support for mental health promotion.

Note to editors:

And at the opening ceremony of the “Friendly Banks” initiative scheduled for October 10, photos and videos will be shown to the media.

At 4:00 PM Doha time, the WHO will broadcast a live chat on its Facebook channel: https://www.facebook.com/WHO

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