David Beckham: Coronavirus is having such a huge impact on mental health

‘It’s okay to feel sad; it’s okay to feel anxious’. Because we’re all going through such a difficult moment in life.”

UNICEF goodwill ambassador David Beckham and UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore discussed the personal impact of Covid-19, and what UNICEF is doing to help the poorest countries fight the virus.

Beckham and Fore appeared alongside Nicole Kidman, Ryan Reynolds, Wikipedia CEO Katherine Maher and Chelsea Clinton at the 40,000-attendee online conference Collision 2021.

"Mental health is such an important part of this" Beckham said in a conversation with UNICEF executive director Fore as they discussed discussed the impact that Covid-19 has had on children.

"There's also the mental health side. I have three young children and one older one, and their mental health is such an important part of this.

"I think even more so these days than ever before. It's something that we need to come together and believe we are doing the right thing to get back to normality as quick as possible." said Beckham.

"I've heard so many people over the last year say "it's ok to not be ok", and I keep hearing that over and over again, and it's such a good thing for people to hear, and it's such a good thing for children to hear.

"Children have more pressure on them these days than ever before, and I make sure, and Victoria makes sure, that we are open with our children. We are asking our children if they're ok, and saying to them 'It's ok to feel sad; it's ok to feel anxious' because we're all going through such a difficult moment in life."

A call to action

UNICEF has had long-standing vaccination campaigns in the world's poorest countries and, while their networks and logistics are helpful in combating Covid-19, Henrietta Fore spoke of the challenges that they are now facing.

"Usually, we are moving around two billion vaccines in the world to about a hundred countries, and it has saved millions of lives over the years, but now we need to move another two billion vaccines for Covid," Fore said.

The executive director of UNICEF has also called on people to support the agency in its greatest challenge yet.

"It's a massive undertaking, but it's a very important one for our world, and it does mean that we are asking for funding. COVAX needs US$2billion.

"This is the consortium of WHO, Gavi and UNICEF, and all of us who are trying to get vaccines to the least developed countries. And another US$650million that we need for the readiness of the poorest countries, because some of these healthcare systems are very fragile and they need help and funding.

"It's rather like your football teams. We're all in this together - we're all going to win together, or we're all going to lose together, so we just need to help each other," Fore added.

Beckham finished the talk by speaking of his appreciation for Fore and his delight in being part of the UNICEF family.

"It is an incredible campaign for me, personally, to be part of something that's so important - World Immunization Week - because we need to get vaccinated, we need to feel safe to be vaccinated, and this is such a huge step towards getting back to normality."

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