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Kicking Off Mental Health Awareness Week: The Mental Health World Cup 2019

A round up of the day, the highlights and the winners at the Mental Health World Cup

Warming Up for Mental Health Awareness Week

It was all sunshine and smiles on Sunday 12th May 2019, the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, for the first ever Mental Health World Cup at QPR’s Loftus Road Stadium. The day kicked off at 8am with registration of the twenty-four 5-a-side teams, who then, once dressed in their team shirts, moved onto the stunning pitch to start their warm-ups in the sun.

Supported by Construction & Community

As a charity tournament, each team had raised a minimum of £500 in sponsorship to enable them to play. With headline sponsors Overbury and Morgan Lovell, the event drew many teams from across the construction industry. Eight teams were made up of employees from these two brands, whilst a further 10 teams also came from the construction services, fit out or recruitment sectors. With further teams from creative services, the local community and of course QPR’s own team this was set to be a tournament for everyone – but who was going to win?

Exactly Like a World Cup Tournament

The day was run like a real world cup, with Group stages kicking off at 9am. From 9am until nearly midday each team played five intense 12 minute games, on one of the five marked out 5-a-side pitches. What started off as a bit of fun, soon got more competitive as the teams strove to stay on top of their game despite the heat of the unaccustomed morning sunshine. Cheered on by crowds of supporters and managed closely by an army of volunteers, the teams gave it their all but only 16 made it through to the knockout stages.

The competition said farewell to Argentina, Brazil, Eqypt, France, Netherlands, QPR, Spain and South Korea after the Group stages but many teams chose to stay on for the rest of the day. There was hot food, an open bar, cake sale, sweet stall, inflatable goal posts and a kids games and craft area keeping everyone fed, entertained and in the great spirit of the day.

Ex-Pro Footballer Andy Sinton Supports Mental Health Awareness

Before the knockout stages kicked off, ex-Pro Andy Sinton, who has played for England, Spurs and QPR gave an incredible, motivating speech explaining the importance of the event and how mental health can affect anyone – no matter who you are. He talked about the change in perception about what is ‘strong’. From a time when it was deemed ‘strong’ to be silent, to now where we believe the real strength comes from being able to speak out, explaining, “it’s ok not to be ok.” He echoed the sentiment from event organiser Giancarlo Gaglione, who launched this event in memory of his younger brother Lanfranco who took his own life in 2012.

The Final Stages

Motivated by the great cause they were playing for, 16 teams went into the knock out stages. But in a matter of 12 minutes, World Cup dreams were shattered for a further 8 teams, including the teams of co-sponsors Sale Group, as Cameroon, China, Germany, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Philippines, South Africa and Uruguay retreated to the spectator stands to watch the final stages.

The Quarter-Finals saw a great standard of football, as England beat USA, Australia beat Colombia, Jamaica beat Japan and Italy beat Nigeria on penalties. But it was the semi-finals where England beat Australia, played by co-sponsors Adam Bourn Creative Services, and where Jamaica beat Gaglione’s team Italy, when we found who would play in the final.

Jamaica, played by employees from recruitment firm Falcon Green with players from Morgan Lovell too, had played a strong tournament and felt confident going into the Final.

But it was Overbury’s England team who had the lion’s share of supporters with an army of children plus colleagues from across the other fit out brands cheering them on. It was a brave final for both teams but the final victory for England meant it really was ‘coming home’, both for England and tournament sponsors Overbury.

Football for Mental Health Awareness Week

This tournament proved to be a great way to get people talking about mental health and the risk suicide poses – especially to men under the age of 45. With 400 attendees and reaching hundreds of thousands of people through social media not only did the tournament raise awareness, it also raised over £42,000. The funds will be split between mental health charity CALM and QPR’s Community Trust, helping disadvantaged people in the community including those suffering with their mental health. This incredible achievement would not have been possible without the efforts of the official tournament sponsors, Overbury, Morgan Lovell, QPR, Sale Group and Adam Bourne Creative Services, as well as the incredible fund-raising players, donators, the volunteers, spectators, organisers, and additional support from Indigo Buteo and The Print Lab.

If you would like to be involved in the Mental Health World Cup and support Mental Health Awareness Week in 2020, contact us at .

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