World Mental Health Day – 10th October 2020

09 October 2020

This year has been a tough one for us all. The months of lockdown and loss have had a huge impact on our mental health. We know that the levels of anxiety, fear, isolation, uncertainty and emotional distress experienced have become widespread throughout the pandemic. And although it has been tough for us all, we also know that many communities will have been and will continue to be disproportionately affected and that inequalities have widened as a result of the pandemic.[i]

There is evidence that self-reported mental health and wellbeing has worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic amongst the general population in England. The decline was largest in April. There are signs of some recovery since then, but not yet to pre-pandemic levels. Emerging evidence also suggests certain population groups have been disproportionately affected and early signs suggest young adults, women, adults with pre-existing mental health conditions and adults with low household income have experienced worse mental health outcomes.[ii]

The 10th October marks this year’s World Mental Health Day – and it is of great significance that this year the theme for World Mental Health Day 2020 will be – Mental Health for All.

Challenges faced due to the upheaval of ‘normality’ from the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted more than ever, the importance of mental health and wellbeing for all and that irrespective of your job, your ethnicity, your wealth - we should ALL be able to enjoy positive wellbeing and we should ALL have access to help if and when we need it.

In some ways, the pandemic has helped raise further awareness of mental health conditions and has led to advocacy groups and mental health stakeholders pushing more fiercely the work towards this year’s theme of greater investment and greater access to everyone, everywhere.

And so this is both a thank you and a call to action – to Local Authority Public Health teams, Integrated Care Systems, Clinical Commissioning Groups, NHS Acute and Mental Health Trusts, Primary Care, the Voluntary and Community Sector, advocacy groups and people with lived experience across Yorkshire and the Humber – a thank you for shining the spotlight on mental health & wellbeing over these last six months; for doing everything in your power to make services equitable and accessible despite challenging circumstances; and for championing and responding to the changing and differing needs of local communities. We need to continue and build upon this work over the coming months and years to ensure that no-one is left behind.

As part of this we should ensure that we capitalise on the resilience displayed by individuals and communities who relaunched, regenerated and rediscovered themselves and their communities to be responsive during a time of crisis. Communities who found creative solutions and interventions to facilitate a mental health response in an emergency context despite social distancing or “lockdown”.

We invite you to join our call to action in highlighting the need for greater investment in mental health particularly during this global health emergency and thereafter. There are a number of activities taking place across Yorkshire & the Humber today to mark the day. However, World Mental Health Day isn’t simply a one-day event. We need to start now and continue our call to ensure that no-one is left behind.

I believe this call to action will be strengthened through our alliances, collaborations and partnerships across Yorkshire and the Humber, to ensure that investment in mental health is prioritised, particularly during this time within the context of COVID-19. With a unifying voice through collaboration with various partners, we need to take action to create lasting change through the messages we promote.

Julia Weldon

Director of Public Health and Adult Services and Deputy Chief Executive, Hull City Council and Director of Public Health Sponsor for the Yorkshire & Humber Mental Health & Suicide Prevention Community of Improvement

If you are struggling to cope, please call Samaritans free on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch. Samaritans is available round the clock, every single day of the year, providing a safe place for anyone struggling to cope, whoever they are, however they feel, whatever life has done to them.


[i] Public Heath England, (June 2020). COVID-19: review of disparities in risks and outcomes. Available here:


[ii] Public Health England, (Sept 2020). Mental Health and Wellbeing Surveillance Report. Available here: