Sunday October 10 marked World Mental Health Day which is why we saw the Welsh Conservatives lead a debate on mental health in the Welsh Parliament.

This issue is very close to my heart and the Senedd’s future work towards supporting people with mental health issues should be underpinned to support positive mental health and wellbeing.

Having recently been made an ambassador for the ‘Where’s Your Head At Campaign’, led by the incredible duo, Natasha Devon MBE and Lucie Cave, I will be pushing ahead with the campaign here in Wales to raise awareness of the need to get Mental Health First Aid included in all recognised First Aid Courses on the agenda of the Welsh Government.

The Covid-19 pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns have highlighted the importance and need to bring mental health to the top of our agendas.

Stigma is no longer such a significant barrier to seeking support, and open discussion about mental health is occurring much more frequently than it was ten years ago. But many people who are suffering, suffer needlessly and in silence.

Sadly, there has been a significant rise the number of young people attending hospital after self-harming, a rise of 39 per cent since 2007. We cannot allow the situation to continue, action is needed now.

We need readily accessible current guidance for teachers and other professionals who work closely with children and young people. The guidance should address the issues of stigma, negative metal wellbeing, suicide and self-harm and needs to share information about how early intervention can really help.

This is why we have called for the next 10 year mental health strategy and a new Mental Health Act in Wales to reflect the significant changes in a post Covid Wales.

The current position is very different and the Welsh Government need to sit-up and listen to the calls that mental health charities, such as Mind, CAMHS, and the Samaritans, have been making. We need a strategy to improve support across Wales, and whatever your postcode, such as having mental health champions within schools and businesses.

But it can be very difficult to know whether someone is going through a rough patch, or suffering with mental health issues. Many of us will have previously bottled up our emotions and put on a smile; a smile can hide so much. But we can all do a little bit to help support others. Taking the time to check up on someone, knocking their door to have a chat or going out for a coffee or a walk. Every conversation – virtual or in person – will help.

Join my campaign to 'Reach Out' to friends and family - find out more here