EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Monday is Word Mental Health Day and it’s a chance to “rekindle our efforts to protect and improve mental health,” according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Health experts say the COVID-19 pandemic created a global mental health crisis, with a 25% rise in anxiety and depressive disorders in the first year of the outbreak.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), suicide is the second leading cause of death for Rhode Islanders ages 15-34.

In 2017, 16% of surveyed Rhode Island high school students say they had considered suicide and 11% said they had attempted suicide, according to RIDOH.

“Mental health is getting a lot more difficult to deal with these last few years, especially after having to isolate and stuff,” Emily Dixon, of London, said.

The rising cost of living and financial stress, combined with the pandemic has made it tough for many around the globe, but researchers in Britain say you’re not alone.

“The stats are similar in the U.S. and U.K. about one in six people every week experience diagnosable levels of mental illness,” said Dr. Antonis Kousoulis, Director for England and Wales at the Mental Health Foundation.

Britain’s Mental Health Foundation studied the best ways to cope with problems like anxiety and depression. Experts have offered the following 11 tips to boost mental health:

  • Get closer to nature
  • Learn to understand and manage your feelings
  • Talk to someone you trust for support
  • Be aware of using drugs and/or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings
  • Try to make the most of your money and get help with problem debts
  • Get more from your sleep
  • Be kind and help create a better world
  • Keep moving
  • Eat healthy food
  • Be curious and open-minded to new experiences
  • Plan things to look forward to

“I think for me exercise is a big one with running and eating healthily,” Molly Thompson, of London, said.

Experts say the stigma remains the largest barrier to effective suicide prevention.

“The main stigma is that it’s your fault if you’re struggling,” Dr. Kousoulis said. 

But there are ways to recognize if someone needs help.

“Are there aspects of our lives that are suffering? Sleep is quite often the first one,” Dr. Kousoulis said. “Any changes in behavior, motivation at work, being invested in the relationships we have.” 

Experts say it’s important for parents to listen to their kids from an early age.

“There is something about our society that demonizes negative emotions, you don’t want sadness, we don’t want anger, we don’t want stress but these are valuable signs that something is going on,” Dr. Kousoulis said.

Recognizing the signs is key to keeping those around you safe.