WALES health minister has assured the public that “it is absolutely OK to say that you are not OK” as mental health discussions were raised with him.

Wales Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, took the lectern at the daily coronavirus press conference and took questions from the press.

The Leader posed a question about the significant rise in mental health problems as the way of the world turned upside down almost instantly to adapt to the challenges posed by the global pandemic.

Mental health charities have reported a rise in the number of people seeking help with issues that have been magnified by the coronavirus lockdown conditions imposed for the safety of public health.

Mr Gething told the Leader: "We certainly recognise here in the Government and across the health service is that one of the challenges that lockdown has provided is that more people will be suffering with their mental health and wellbeing.

“We want to make sure that both, from the point of views of the stigma and their willingness to approach and seek support, people are prepared to come forward and the way in which we provide that support considers the changed reality in how we are living our lives.”

The minister said that the Welsh Government would soon be rolling out online support that was trialled in Powys and should be available in every part of Wales by the end of the summer.

He added that he also had a meeting with the Wales Alliance for Mental Health on July 6 – which he described as “helpful”.

Mr Gething continued: "We have always considered throughout the pandemic of mental health as an essential service, and it will remain so in the future.”

The minister went on to say that the battle against mental health was a “nationwide endeavour for all of us to consider what we can do to help other people.

Importantly, he stressed: “It is absolutely OK to say that you are not OK. To talk to friends, to talk to family and to seek the help, support and advice from the health service if you need it.”

Help and support is available right now if you need it:

• Samaritans is a helpline service which is available 24/7 - Call 116 123 or email

• MIND Cymru’s InfoLine provides information on different types of mental health problems, where to get help, medication, alternative treatments and advocacy. You can call 0300 123 3393, email or text 86463.

• If you are under 19, you can also call 0800 1111 to talk to Childline. The number will not appear on your phone bill.

Various other available services are listed here on the NHS website