Today, the 10th of October is Mental Health Day. A day to recognise mental illness and to remind ourselves of the importance of, not only looking after our wellbeing but also checking in with the people around us. This year, the theme is around suicide prevention. Every year, roughly 800,000 individuals take their own lives with many more attempting it, but we can all show our support by wearing a green ribbon pin badge. The international symbol for mental health awareness can be bought from Mental Health Foundation – a charity dedicated to finding and addressing mental illness problems.

We can’t stress enough how important it is to be aware of our health. These conditions affect so many people. 1 in 4 people in the UK experience a mental health problem every year and 1 in 6 people, in England, experience a common mental problem, such as anxiety and depression, any given week.

We are all susceptible to experiencing some sort of mental health problem due to the many worries and struggles we face daily, but it’s becoming harder for people to cope with mental health problems with the number of people who self-harm or contemplate suicide is increasing. This is a matter that needs prioritising.

It’s important to remember that a mental health condition is not necessarily visible, so sometimes it’s difficult to know when someone is struggling. If someone is withdrawn, not socialising, not enjoying the things they used to, feeling lethargic and just not being themselves, then they could be suffering from a mental health problem. It’s also important to watch out for those who may not be eating properly; this can be a sign of an eating disorder. Mental health problems can take many different forms and, while someone might say they’re okay, they might not be. We encourage you to remember that it’s okay not to be okay.

So, today and every day of the year, let’s make a conscious effort to look after the people we love. We advise checking in with people often, having a cup of tea with a friend, going for a walk, just being there and giving someone a hug when they may need it. Let’s remember to look after ourselves and take time for ourselves. It’s okay to say no to things you don’t want to do and it’s certainly more than okay to put yourself first. If you know someone who is struggling with a mental health condition or you’re suffering yourself, please speak to someone and remember you’re never alone. With more awareness about these conditions and more effort to break the stigma associated with them, we can all make a difference and hopefully stop the increase in mental health problems.