Sunday marked World Mental Health Day – a global awareness event to encourage people to talk about and get help for their mental wellbeing.

Mental health issues can affect everyone and with the difficulties the last 18 months has thrown at us, it is more important than ever to talk about it. The pandemic has reduced ​the availability of mental health services in ​many areas and limited the places we can socialise. While life is getting more back to normal now, the repercussions of COVID on mental health will be felt for years to come. ​A study from UNICEF published earlier this month found 1 in 7 children globally will be affected by poor mental health at some point in their childhood, increasing to 1 in 5 for young people aged 16-24. And they fear these numbers are the tip of the iceberg.

The World Health Organisation launched ‘Mental health care for all: let’s make it a reality’ for World Mental Health Day (October 10). Despite mental health difficulties being more prevalent throughout the world than ever before, up to 95 per cent of people in low to middle income countries have no access to mental health care at all. In the UK the figures don’t make happy reading either with double the number of children and young people in the UK asking for help in 2021 than in the same period in 2019.

The NHS has published seven top tips for good mental health ahead of World Mental Health Day:

1. Reframe unhelpful thoughts

2. Be in the present

3. Get good sleep

4. Connect with others

5. Live a healthy life

6. Do something for yourself

7. Write a letter to future you

If you are worried about your child, be open with them and address any worries they might have. Encourage them to express their feelings and share their worries. Visit Young Minds or contact your GP for further information or support.

For more help with mental health, visit The Mental Health Foundation. If you​or someone you know is experiencing harmful thoughts, visit The Samaritans for support and in an emergency, always call 999.