A campaign is being launched to encourage young people to ‘Just Talk’ about their mental health.

The initiative, which is being carried out across Hertfordshire, aims to help support children, and boys in particular, who may have worries or concerns, after research by Hertfordshire County Council found one in ten children aged 5 to 16 have a significant mental health problem and 21 per cent of boys in Hertfordshire are unable to identify healthy coping strategies when things are worrying them.

Just Talk launch week is being supported by a number of organisations including, Time to Change, NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, YC Hertfordshire, and Watford Football Club.

During the Just Talk launch week, schools will be holding special assemblies aiming to normalise conversations about mental health. They will also be running Just Talk lessons and inviting guest speakers in to share the Just Talk message.

Richard Roberts, Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health, explained: “Many young people fear judgement and embarrassment if they talk about mental health problems, but the fact is we all have mental health, like we have physical health.

"Through our ‘Just Talk’ campaign, we want young people, especially boys and young men, to know that it’s OK to not be OK and that sharing a problem with someone they trust is the first step to feeling better.”

National mental health campaigners Jonny Benjamin and Neil Laybourn, known as the Strangers on the Bridge after Neil stopped and talked to Jonny when he was on the brink of taking his own life, were among the first to have backed Just Talk.

“The first time that I talked was actually to Neil really, when I was on a bridge and I wasn’t well and I was suicidal so that was the first time that I opened up,” said Jonny.

“I would encourage anyone that’s struggling to Just Talk and I really get behind this because talking has been the best thing that I’ve ever done, it’s been the most important thing that I’ve ever done and I wish that I’d talked earlier.”

To find out more, visit www.healthyyoungmindsinherts.org.uk/justtalk