International Football Committee on Mental Health

Football for Mental Health

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The International Football Committee on Mental Health is an international organism constituted by the proposal of the organizers of the First Five-a-side Football World Cup for people with mental health problems, held in Osaka on February 2016.
It represents a network made up by 8 countries of 5 continents: Argentine, South Korea, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Italy and Peru, signatories in 2013 of Tokyo Declaration on Sport for people with mental health problems.

The Mission of the Committee is to promote and spread football as a medium for mental disorders prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, and to help the lifestyle change of people with mental health problems. Sport, and football particularly, for the synchronous activation of body and mind characteristics and powerful means of collective and social inclusion relation, represents an effective instrument for mental health safeguard and activation of the physical and psychological wellness, and medium of important human values ​​essential for the strengthening of the personality, especially in vulnerability and frailty situations. 

Why sport in mental health?

…people living with mental health problems have an higher physical problems incidence compared to general population…
…people with serious mental health disorders have a life expectation about 20 years lower compared to general population…
…a physical inactivity, unhealthy diet and smoking lifestyle contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality increase of people with mental disorder…
…people with mental health problems are in measures 3/4 times greater smokers compared to general population…
…health professionals discriminate against people with mental health disorders in the management of their physical ailments…
…physical health problems could exasperate mental disorders…
…many drugs used in mental disorders treatment have a negative effects on physical wellness and side effects which can be mitigated with physical exercise and diet…
…because sport values (Loyalty, Bravery, Tenacity, Challenge to own limits, Belonging Sense, Rules Adherence, Discipline, Respect for the opponent and for himself, Universal Brotherhood, Self – Sacrifice Spirit, Determination, Reliability, Consistency, Trust and Firmness) are basics reference points for people good psychological balance

Actions and aims

Committee specific targets:
1) Formulate eligibility criteria (recovery based, ICD-WHO F2-F3, ICF-WHO, social/emotional disability)
2) Enlist Nations interested in football promotion on mental health activities and to take part to the international network
3) Recruit mental health and international sport professionals who collaborate in the definition of specific and non-specific factors of football on intervention programs to the benefit of mental wellness (primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary prevention, treatment, mental health disorders rehabilitation)
4) Extend sporting events from football to 5 to the 8 and 11 one
5) Promote football for integration and social inclusion

1) Instituting in Rome an office for Committee General Secretary
2) Instituting a Scientific Board
3) Accomplish a Committee Website, YouTube Channel, Facebook Page
4) Create institutional relations with FIFA, International Paralympic Committee and Health Ministry, Special Olympics
5) Plan in Italy in 2018 the Second Football World Cup for people with mental health disorders

Why football in mental health?

Because… is a game, more than a sport! It’s a skill and smart cooperation exercise, with a strong competitive component, but without the obligation to possess exceptional physical qualities, which are essential to emerge in performance sports or in some team games.