People are being encouraged to wear something yellow today to raise awareness about children's mental health.
Ahead of World Mental Health Day, on Sunday (October 10) classrooms and workplaces are being urged to take part in Hello Yellow by donning something yellow in support of mental health charity YoungMinds.
Retailers and restaurants including Wagamama and Wickes, as well as thousands of schools, are backing the day, which aims to educate people about mental health issues in children and young people and help remove feelings of shame, worry or embarrassment about talking about or having them.
It comes as YoungMinds reports a 48% rise in demand for support via its email, web chat and crisis text services, over the last two years, which covers the COVID pandemic.
In a survey of parents and carers at the height of the pandemic two thirds (67%) said they were deeply worried about the long-term impact on the young people in their care, with many claiming they did not know where to turn for advice and support.
During the pandemic, the charity created a dedicated hub on their website with advice for parents on how to support their children.
Tom Madders, director of campaigns at the charity, said: “We know from parents who have been using our digital helpline services how hard life has been for many children over the last year.
“Some have struggled to cope with isolation, anxiety, fears about the future, bereavement or traumatic experiences – and others are finding the return to school and previous routines really challenging.
“Children who are already experiencing inequalities are likely to continue to be disproportionately affected."
Watch: 46% of low income households have inadequate access to mental health support.
To show young people they’re not alone with their mental health, YoungMinds is encouraging friends, colleagues and schools to come together this World Mental Health Day to celebrate the little things we can do to look after ourselves and support each other.
“We’ve all felt the stress of lockdown, been worried about our families and felt uncertain about the future. It's been difficult watching the young people in our lives struggling too," Madders continues.
“Often it can be the little things we do in our day to day lives that can make a big difference to young people’s mental health to remind them that they’re not alone.
“Whether that’s morning walks, watching a Netflix show together or having a heart-to-heart with someone.
“Wearing an item of yellow for Hello Yellow is one little thing we can all do to support the young people in our lives, but also to raise vital funds for YoungMinds so that we can ensure no young person feels alone with their mental health.”
Hello Yellow comes as a new investigation by the Telegraph newspaper found that the number of children attending A&E with 'serious' mental health issues, including self-harm and suicidal thinking, has leapt by more than 50% since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.
Over 2,240 children in England alone were referred to mental health care professionals via A&E in May 2021, compared with 1,428 in May 2020.
Meanwhile, NHS figures show that around 27 000 children a month, largely teenagers, are now prescribed anti-depressants, with over 1000 under 11 years old. Waiting lists for Child and Adolescent mental health services have also shot up, while eating disorder hospital admissions have more than doubled.
Yahoo Life has put together some therapist-backed tips and advice about how to help your children through a tough time.