Each year, stakeholders across the world come together on 10 October to mark World Mental Health Day.

The theme for this year's initiative is Young People and Mental Health in a Changing World.

The World Federation for Mental Health says, "Young people are spending most of their day on the internet – experiencing cyber-crimes, cyber bullying, and playing violent video games. Suicide and substance abuse numbers have been steadily rising and LGBTQ youth are feeling alone and persecuted for being true to themselves. Young adults are at the age when serious mental illnesses can occur and yet they are taught little to nothing about mental health care".

In many countries, suicide is the leading cause of death among young people aged 20-34 years. Research led by the University of Manchester in 2017 found that only 27% of people who died by suicide between 2005 and 2015 in the United Kingdom had been in contact with mental health services in the year before they died.

People with a diagnosed mental health condition are shown to be at a higher risk of attempting and completing suicide, with more than 90% of suicides and suicide attempts having been found to be associated with a psychiatric disorder. Across the globe, the highest rates of suicide were associated with depressive disorders.

As the world's most popular sport, football has an important role to play in promoting mental health awareness. Governing bodies, national associations, leagues and clubs across the game are getting involved in World Mental Health Day - FIFA is offering a free online course to help people recognise when someone is struggling, and UEFA has published an #EqualGame story showcasing an Icelandic football club supporting mental health awareness.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is just to ask somebody - a friend, relative, colleague or even the person next to you on the train - how they are. Mental health can affect any of us at any time - it does not discriminate.

If you feel like you are struggling, speak with someone and do not be afraid to discuss how you are feeling. It is not a sign of weakness, it is a show of strength.

To find out more about World Mental Health Day, visit https://wfmh.global/.

Published 10/10/2018