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Pudsey removes bandana for Mental Health Awareness Week

pudsey bear not wearing his bandana which instead is lying next to him

For the first time since we were introduced to him back in the eighties BBC Children in Need’s mascot has made an appearance without his bandana.

Since 1985 the bear has had a kerchief covering his right eye, but to mark Mental Health Awareness Week the clothing accessory has been removed to show “not all of the challenges that children and young people may be facing are visible”.

The Behind The Banana campaign is hoping to spark conversations between children and their parents, guardians and trusted adults “to ensure no child faces their emotional and mental health challenges alone”.

Former Love Island constant and UK Youth Mental Health Ambassador Dr Alex George is also the campaign’s ambassador, a subject close to his heart after his 19-year-old brother Llyr took his own life in 2020.

He said: “I know how important early intervention is in helping make a difference to the emotional wellbeing of children and young people and so I am very proud to be the ambassador of such a powerful campaign that really shines a light on the mental health crisis we are facing.

“As highlighted by Pudsey bear himself, mental health issues can be less visible on the outside, but conversations and positive relationships really can help.”

BBC Children in Need has recently released findings of a Censuswide survey on how comfortable young people are talking about their mental health and how often they feel the need to hide emotions behind their “metaphorical bandana”.

Nine in 10 parents said they spoke to their children about their wellbeing at least once a month, but over a quarter of young people revealed they have not discussed their mental health with someone within the last six months because they do not know anyone they can trust.

Children In Need’s boss Simon Antrobus said: “This research is a clear indication that our Behind The Bandana campaign is urgently needed.

“What’s also clear is that we can all play a role in addressing early signs of worry and anxiety by showing children and young people that we’re here to listen and to support them.

“By recognising and acknowledging that some feelings of worry and anxiety can be hidden means early conversations, sensitively delivered with kindness and empathy, can make a real difference to a child’s wellbeing and can help prevent mental health problems from becoming embedded.”

[ Mental Health Awareness Week 2023 runs from May 15th - 21th. For more information visit the Mental Health UK website ]

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