WISH hosts discuss mental health and creative workshops at GA Festival 2021

Participants in a program hosted by WISH during the Generation Amazing Festival 2021.

Doha: The World Health Innovation Summit (WISH) recently participated in the Generation Amazing Festival 2021 as part of its ongoing partnership with the Supreme Committee for Childbirth and Inheritance.

The festival, which ran from December 14-18, aimed to inspire a generation committed to social change through the power of sport. This year’s theme, “All In”, focused on the role of young people in the development of their community.

During the festival, WISH, the global health initiative of the Qatar Foundation (QF), organized and organized several activities for festival participants – mainly young people aged 16 to 25 from Qatar and the Arab region.

These included art and photography workshops and a roundtable focused on mental health and sport.

Nick Bradshaw, Director of Partnerships and Outreach at WISH, said: “We wanted to be involved in this year’s Generation Amazing festival because we believe in the power of sport to create positive social impact and promote good physical and mental health. .

“For young people in particular, the ability of sport to shape their lives for the better should not be underestimated. This is especially true when you think about the negative impact that the events of the past two years have had on the mental health of our younger population. Access to and participation in sporting activities must be both protected and encouraged.

WISH hosted a panel discussion titled “Reaching Your Goals: Tips from Sports Professionals for Maintaining a Healthy Mind in a Competitive World”, which was also broadcast virtually and is available on WISH’s YouTube channel.

Moderated by Nicky Crosby, presenter at beIN Sports, the session brought together a range of current and former athletes to discuss their own experiences with mental health and the role sport plays in fostering positive mental well-being.

Speakers included an impressive number of former professional footballers, including Qatar-based Netherlands international Nigel De Jong; Qatari footballer and founder and board member of the Qatar Players Association, Abdulaziz Al Sulaiti; France and Manchester United international, Louis Saha; and former Paris Saint Germain and Italy player Arianna Criscione.

“You have to have mental toughness to be successful as an athlete, and self-confidence has to be the number one priority,” commented De Jong. “In tough times, having the mentality to come back better and stronger is key. Approach challenges as a “minor setback for a big comeback” and don’t be afraid to ask mental health questions or speak up. “

Saha recalled how he responded to negative comments during his career: “I have always seen comments from a coach, mentor or teacher as positive – I took them as opportunities and I trusted them to be able to grow from these moments. If I could give one piece of advice, it would be to take on any challenge and stay genuine.

Criscione advised against today’s comparative culture: “People are afraid to talk about how they feel because they think it will ruin their careers. If you compare yourself, you will always be disappointed and you won’t be focusing on improving yourself.

Alexandra Chalat, Director of Community Engagement and World Cup Legacy for the Qatar Foundation, spoke about QF’s many sporting initiatives, including the WISH and Liverpool Football Club capacity-tailored program launched in 2017. Chalat shared her thoughts on the importance of making sport participation fully inclusive, regardless of ability or gender, and the benefits of actively participating in competitive sport.

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