AN MP IS ENCOURAGING people to keep in touch with friends and family as part of Mental Health Awareness Week.

The awareness event, hosted by the Mental Health Foundation, runs between Monday, May 18 and Sunday, May 24. This year's theme is kindness.

While Dr James Davies, MP for Vale of Clwyd, has been impressed by the many acts of kindness reported within his constituency amid the virus pandemic, he is calling on people to ensure they continue being there for one another.

"There have been some truly heart warming stories in recent weeks of people supporting the vulnerable and elderly, and generally of people helping each other through these troubled times," he said.

"However, there is no doubt that this pandemic and lockdown has been very challenging and people's mental health will have been affected in various ways. Whilst we can't be there in person at the moment to give people we care about a hug to help them through, we can still provide a listening ear and a virtual smile.

"It is absolutely vital that we keep in touch with those we care about, particularly those who are living alone, whether it be by phone call, Zoom chat, or text message. Just knowing someone cares and is thinking about you can make a huge difference to a person's state of mind.

"Even within our own households we need to be keeping a close eye on family members. We have never before been cut off from the outside world in the way that we are right now. Observe those around you - has their mood changed? Are they quieter than normal? Speak to them about how they are feeling."

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For readers experiencing mental health problems or in need of urgent help, there is a number of options for support:

Samaritans: Telephone: 08457 90 90 90 (24 hours a day) Email Website

CALL (Community Advice and Listening Line): Telephone 0800 132 737 Website

NHS Direct Wales: Telephone 0845 4647 Website

Meic Cymru: Telephone: 0808 80 23456 (8am – midnight, seven days a week) Text: 84001 Website:

Meic is a confidential, free helpline service for children and young people up to the age of 25 in Wales.

Mind Infoline: Telephone: 0300 123 3393 (9am-5pm Monday to Friday) Email Website

Saneline: Telephone 0845 767 8000 (6pm-11pm) Website

Childline: Telephone: 0800 1111 Website: