The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day (WMHD) on 10 October every year as an opportunity to raise “awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilising efforts in support of mental health.”

The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day, set by the World Federation for Mental Health, is psychological first aid and the support people can provide to those in distress.

Sean O'Loughlin England Rugby League Captain

England Rugby League Captain Sean O’ Loughlin supporting State of Mind to improve the mental fitness of rugby league players, fans, and communities

In a global context, there is a need to ensure that when crisis events occur part of the humanitarian response is appropriate and timely mental health support – including psychological first aid. But of course, crisis events are not just limited to the events we see on the news. Every day, and all around us, people often experience personal crises, from potentially losing a loved one, going through a stressful situation at work, or experiencing a serious physical illness.

There are also people who sadly experience abuse and/or violence, all of which increase stress and the likelihood of developing mental health problems. We need to be conscious of the need to provide the right support when people experience the stress of traumatic events, both in the global context and on an individual level.

The principle of first aid is that all or any of us may need to step in to help when someone needs it, and to help them to see if they need professional help. All of us may need to build our confidence to do this with the people we are close to, our family, friends and colleagues.

Coping with traumatic events

This World Mental Health Day we will explore the impact of traumatic events on people’s mental health and the steps people can take to support themselves and others through a series of blogs and personal stories.

Tea and Talk

Every year on World Mental Health Day we try to get the nation talking about mental health, which is one of the best things you can do to look after your mental health. All you have to do is get together a group of friends, family or colleagues, put the kettle on and invite them to make a donation to the Mental Health Foundation – it’s as simple as that! Don’t feel stuck if October is no good for you though – you can hold Tea & Talks at any time of year.