ICC and UNICEF partner to help break stigma around mental health

ICC T20 World Cup UNICEF combo logo

DUBAI: The ICC and UNICEF are aiming to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing amongst children and adolescents and encourage greater conversation and understanding of it throughout the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 beginning on Sunday.

The event – the biggest ever in the UAE and Oman – begins on 17 October and comprises 45 matches across four venues and features cricket’s biggest names and best teams. As the pinnacle of the shortest format of cricket, the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 attracts a global audience reaching billions of young fans and families.

The partnership will highlight the need for more conversations around mental health and wellbeing. Mental health is defined as a state of wellbeing in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to their community.

According to the latest available estimates, more than 1 in 7 adolescents aged 10–19 is estimated to live with a diagnosed mental disorder globally (source: UNICEF- SOWC 2021).

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the issue. School closures and physical distancing measures due to COVID 19 have reduced children and young people’s regular coping mechanisms and contributed to increased isolation and mental health risks.

Lockdowns and other pandemic containment measures, in addition to the direct impact of COVID-19, have resulted in mental stress of parents’ and care givers. This has in turn affected their ability to provide a protective and nurturing environment for their children.

#OnYourMind campaign at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 will urge for greater commitment, connection and conversation around mental health and physical wellbeing.

Through this initiative ICC will use its global platforms, including its broadcast and digital channels to support UNICEF’s work and drive the message around: what affects children’s mental health, how to break the silence and talk about mental health wellbeing, destigmatise mental health issues, how to reach out and seek support and what can parents and adults do to improve the mental wellbeing of children.

This partnership comes at the back of ICC’s commitment to ensure the mental and physical wellbeing of over 2,000 individuals that are involved in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, many of whom including players, coaches and support staff, will be in a “managed event environment” throughout.

Geoff Allardice, acting CEO ICC said: “Cricket has the incredible power and reach to raise awareness and effect change and we’re proud to partner with UNICEF to help break the stigma around mental health.  #OnYourMind encourages us all to talk more openly about this with our children to promote and protect their mental health.

UNICEF India representative Dr. Yasmin Ali Haque, said: “We anticipate that that the COVID-19 pandemic related stresses that have affected the mental health of children and young people in India is likely to have a lasting impact if we do not act now! We must work with them to bust the stigma around mental health that prevents many from sharing and seeking support. Lets together break the silence and end stigma on mental health  issues. We value UNICEF’s partnership with ICC to break the silence. Together, through this platform we hope to reach millions with the message, its okay to speak up about what’s #OnMyMind.”

Cricket fans are urged to visit the ICC online and digital channels to find out more about how they can get involved in the campaign.