BBC Children in Need has made a change to its iconic mascot Pudsey Bear as part of a new campaign to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. 

The 'Behind The Bandana' campaign see's Pudsey without his eye covering which the BBC said shows “not all of the challenges that children and young people may be facing are visible”.

The broadcaster said the campaign is aimed at encouraging conversations between children and parents, carers and other trusted adults “to ensure no child faces their emotional and mental health challenges alone”.

Former Love Island contestant Dr Alex George, who has campaigned for improved mental health after the death of his 19-year-old brother Llyr by suicide in 2020, has been named Behind The Bandana ambassador.

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.”

A survey by Children in Need found nine in 10 parents said they talk to their children about their mental health at least once a month. 

While more than a quarter of young people surveyed said they had not talked to someone they trust about their mental health in the last six months.

Oxford Mail: Pudsey Bear has removed his eye cover as part of Children in Need's new Behind The Bandana campaign. Pudsey Bear has removed his eye cover as part of Children in Need's new Behind The Bandana campaign. (Image: BBC/PA)

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.”