Mental health at Davos: signs of hope
Following the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos last week (23-26/01/18), mental health is a bigger priority for world leaders than ever before. It’s now up to us to make the most of this momentum and turn it into action. It’s #TimeToAct on mental health.
Mental health was high on the agenda in Davos, fuelling media coverage and many visits to the Friendship Bench to learn more. The issue was repeatedly in the spotlight, including at a panel session, press conference and event with Dixon Chibanda, Founder of the Friendship Bench and United for Global Mental Health Ambassador.
Prince, CEOs and PM taking action on mental health
There were long queues to get a seat at the high-profile ‘Mental Health Matters‘ plenary session, where leaders made it clear it’s #TimeToAct.
Leaving behind the ‘stiff upper lip’, The Duke of Cambridge movingly shared his own emotional experiences as an air ambulance pilot, calling for more acceptance of mental health at workplaces, as did Bernard J. Tyson, CEO of Kaiser Permanente.
HSBC CEO John Flint shared his vision of creating the “healthiest human system” in the banking industry. He is already moving to equip managers with mental health skills and knowledge, enabling them to spot warning signs and direct people to resources.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern talked about she had lost friends to suicide and explained that her government is prioritising mental health because it affects everyone. She vowed to do more and continue to make kindness a hallmark of her leadership, echoing the work of the Born This Way Foundation
“The star of WEF 2019”: Friendship Bench inspires leaders to open up
The Friendship Bench was the place to be in Davos. From the minute the Annual Meeting opened until it closed, the Friendship Bench facilitated personal conversations with prime ministers, business leaders and innovators about the innovative and simple solution created by Dixon Chibanda.
To name just a few, visitors to the Bench included:
- Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed
- New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern
- Czech Republic PM Andrej Babiš
- World Health Organization Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
- Wellcome Trust Director Dr Jeremy Farrar
- Minister of Trade and Development for the Netherlands Sigrid Kaag
- ICRC President Peter Maurer
- Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff
- HSBC CEO John Flint
- PricewaterhouseCoopers CEO Robert Moritz
- Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney
- Editor of the Evening Standard George Osborne
- Former Unilever CEO Paul Polman