Latest News

Volunteers Week 2015

Volunteers Week 2015 Add to Your Support

1 – 7 June is Volunteers Week 2015. Volunteers week is a great opportunity to celebrate and recognise the important role local volunteers make in our communities and challenge people to take part and volunteer.

Volunteers week is an opportunity to celebrate and say a big thank you to our volunteers in Kent and Medway. Just imagine a life without volunteers there would be no life-boats, Samaritans or hospices,  Magistrates, school governors, sports coaches, Guide and Scout leaders, National Trust wardens. There would be no campaigning, no advocacy, no food-banks, no credit unions, and no citizen advice bureau. In short, our communities would grind to a halt. So its time to say a big thank you for volunteers!

Volunteering is a great way to Give which is one of the Six Ways to Wellbeing.

Or to find out more about volunteers week and how you can celebrate your volunteers go to:  www.volunteersweek.org.uk

@NCVOvolunteers #volunteersweek

Adult Learners Week 2015

Adult Learners Week 2015 Add to Your Support

Adult Learners’ Week 2015 is taking place between the 13 – 19 June. Adult Learners’ Week is a celebration of the benefits of lifelong learning and an opportunity to explore the many types of learning available to adults. It is the chance to find out how flexible and interesting learning as an adult can be and to discover how learning can change your life. A chance to improve skills, try something new and have fun.

Keep Learning is one of the Six Ways to Wellbeing and it’s about trying something new or rediscovering an old hobby. It could be taking up a course or even learning a new recipe or reading a part of the newspaper you don’t usually look at.  You can set small challenges to Keep Learning it will make you more confident, as well as being fun to do.

There are a lot of Adults Learners’ Week events happening in libraries, not only taster sessions but talks and workshops so why not pop down to your local library and see what is happening too!


The Big Lunch 2015

The Big Lunch 2015 Add to Your Support

The Big Lunch 2015 is being held on Sunday June 7. The Big Lunch is a chance to get together with your neighbours in the garden, in the street in a simple act of community, friendship and fun. The Big Lunch can be anything from a few neighbours getting together in the garden or on the street, to a full blown street party with food, music and decoration that quite literally stops the traffic.

Why have a Big Lunch?

  • The Big Lunch is a simple recipe to have fun and connect with your neighbours and encourage friendlier, safer neighbourhoods, which will…
  • Feed community spirit! As well as sharing a meal you’ll be meeting new people, be making new friends and strengthening ties in your community which could see you…
  • Starting to share more –from conversation and ideas to skills and resources –so we all end up richer in every sense, which can also help you to…
  • Discover common ground across age, class, faith, race and the garden fence, and remind ourselves that charity begins at home, or just a couple of doors away, and remember…
  • To make the third of us who live alone feel connected to their communities, and, before you know it, you’ve started to…
  • Change a neighbourhood for good, forever!

So, enjoying a Big Lunch is just the start– it’s what can happen after that really makes the difference!

The Big Lunch is a great way to Give, Connect, Keep Learning and Take Notice – four of the Six Ways to Wellbeing.

Find out more about the Big Lunch 2015 follow the link: www.thebiglunch.com

Need some ideas and inspiration of how to get started or some free resources? go to: http://www.thebiglunch.com/join-in/download-resources.php

Want to find out more about the Six Ways to Wellbeing? Follow the link.

Mental Health Awareness Week 2015

Mental Health Awareness Week Add to Your Support

Mental Health Awareness week is the 11 – 17 May and it’s a great week to raise awareness of all mental health and wellbeing issues.   The theme of this year’s Mental Health Awareness week is Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a form of meditation that uses breath as form of concentration. Learning Mindfulness helps us pay more attention to the present moment – to our own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. We have recently published an introduction to Mindfulness which links to free downloads, you can find this information here: www.liveitwell.org.uk/mindfulness

There are lots of events happening in to raise awareness of Mental Health Awareness Week in Kent to see our latest list follow the link.

Live It Well is also promoting better mental wellbeing in Kent through the Six Ways to Wellbeing campaign.  The Six Ways to Wellbeing are: Be Active, Keep Learning, Give, Connect,  Take Notice, and  Care for the Planet. These Six Ways to Wellbeing can improve your mood, strengthen your relationships and help you cope when life doesn’t go to plan. To support this campaign we have made available free resources so if you are planning on holding an event in Mental Health Awareness Week and want some free resources to promote mental wellbeing you find our resources here: www.liveitwell.org.uk/ways-to-wellbeing/resources

We are also holding a series of free seminars to introduce people to the Six Ways to Wellbeing and you can book on these here: www.liveitwell.org.uk/ways-to-wellbeing/seminars

If you are planning on holding an event to promote Mental Health Awareness week in Kent and want Live It Well to publicise it on our local news pages, facebook and twitter accounts please contact us with details.

The Mental Health Foundation are promoting Mental Health Awareness week and you can find out more about their work here: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/our-work/mentalhealthawarenessweek

NHS Choices also have information about Mindfulness, follow the link for more information.

Mindful Logo used © Mental Health Foundation

Dementia Awareness Week 2015

Dementia Awareness Week Add to Your Support

This years Dementia Awareness Week is happening from 18th May to 24th May. Dementia Awareness week wants to raise awareness and understanding of dementia as well as encouraging all people who are affected by dementia to #dosomethingnew

In 2015 there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to 1 million by 2025. One in three people over 65 will develop dementia, and two-thirds of people with dementia are women. The number of people with dementia is increasing because people are living longer.

If you are worried you or someone you know might have dementia, you should first talk to your doctor, or call the Kent Dementia Freephone Helpline – 24 Hour Service on 0800 500 3014. 

The Alzheimer’s society have listed 5 things you should know about dementia

1. Dementia is not a natural part of ageing
2. Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain
3. It’s not just about losing your memory
4. It’s possible to live well with dementia
5. There’s more to a person than the dementia

To get the Alzheimer’s Society Five Things you should know about Dementia full booklet download it at the link.

For more information go to:

Sky Ride 2015

SkyRide 2015 Add to Your Support

This month SkyRide 2015 begins. With more than 65 FREE guided bike rides across Kent to choose from, if you’ve been thinking about getting on your bike, now’s the time. SkyRide launches on Sunday 10th May 2015 with rides at Cyclopark, Edenbridge and Bexley, and there are limited places on each ride so don’t forget to book yourself a place!

If you don’t want to get on your bike but are looking for other ways to Be Active, why not try our information pages to get you started.

Too Much Alcohol Report Resize

Too Much? Time to Think about Your Drink Add to Your Support

Most people who have alcohol-related health problems aren’t alcoholics. They’re simply people who have regularly drunk more than the recommended levels for some years. Regularly drinking more than the recommended daily limits risks damaging your health. There’s no guaranteed safe level of drinking, but if you drink less than the recommended daily limits, the risks of harming your health are low.

And it’s certainly not only people who get drunk or binge drink who are at risk. Most people who regularly drink more than the NHS recommends don’t see any harmful effects at first. Alcohol’s hidden harms usually only emerge after a number of years. And by then, serious health problems can have developed. The effects of alcohol on your health will depend on how much you drink. The more you drink, the greater the health risks.

Kent County Council’s Director of Public Health Andrew Scott-Clark has launched the annual Public Health report focusing on drinking and its effects.  ‘Problem drinking’ can conjure up a number of images. You may picture a street drinker on a park bench. You may picture a youngster staggering out of a nightclub, getting into a fight and ending up in an ambulance. But do you picture your husband or wife, your mum or dad sitting on the sofa watching The X Factor drinking glass after glass of their favourite tipple?

The annual report sets out how KCC Public Health team are doing to tackle this, as well as highlighting the work of a number of other agencies and partners across the county.

For more advice on how to drink safer and what help is available to you if you have a problem with your alcohol or if you are concerned about someone else:



National Walking Month 2015

National Walking Month May 2015 Add to Your Support

May is National Walking Month. National Walking Month is a campaign to promote the benefits of walking and to get everyone walking, no matter what your level of fitness is.  Walking is simple and free and one of the easiest ways to be more active, lose weight and become healthier.

National Walking Month is running two main themes this month ; Walk to Work Week and Walk to School Week.

Walk to Work Week 11-15 May – Walk to Work week is a free workplace challenge to get some healthy competition going between you and your colleagues, and get you feeling all the benefits of walking more during the working day. You can:

  • Log Your Walking
  • View a workplace team leader board
  • Monitor all of your walking

To register and get involved for free go to: http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/walk-with-us/walking-and-work/walk-to-work-week

Walk to School Week 18-22 May – Walk to school is encouraging schools to get involved to get children (and parents) walking. By getting children walking it could reduce the risk of childhood obesity, get children and families in the habit of walking.  The walk to school is the perfect opportunity for some quality family time or a good chat with friends helping to develop strong, happy relationships.

For more about Walk to School Week and to access the free resource follow the link http://www.livingstreets.org.uk/walk-with-us/walk-to-school/walk-to-school-week-18-22-may-2015

For more ideas on how you can get walking please see the links below:

New to walking? NHS Choices has some great advice about how to start walking safely.

National Walking Month is organised by Living Streets and their website has a lots of ideas and free resources for you to access. Find out more by going to: www.livingstreets.org.uk

& connect on twitter by using the #walkthismay

Mens Mental Health

You Are Not Alone – It’s Good to talk Add to Your Support

The Panorama programme ‘A suicide in the Family‘ (broadcast 13 April 8.30)  has cast a spotlight on suicide. The important thing for anyone experiencing depression or distress is to remember is that no one is alone – there is help available 24 hours a day. Please ask for it if you think you need it.

Anyone feeling despair is encouraged to speak to someone – whether a friend, their family, their doctor or the Samaritans (available 24 hours a day on 08457 90 90 90, or email  jo@samaritans.org)

The free Mental Health Matters helpline offers confidential emotional support and advice for those based in Kent or Medway, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for people in Kent and Medway, on 0800 107 0160 or mobiles: 0300 330 5486. Helpline staff are trained in counselling skills and have details of local services. You can also access online support with Mental Health Matters via the link on this website – in the right hand column.

People in severe distress who are already being treated by a specialist mental health team are advised to call their care co-ordinator.

Anyone experiencing severe distress for the first time should see their GP who will be able to refer them to the service which can help them best.

You can also find advice and support on our Need Help Now Page.

If you feel that you may want to talk to a counsellor or therapist there are free NHS funded therapies in Kent and Medway that you can refer yourself into you can find out about these by going to our NHS Funded Therapy page.

Support is also available for people who have been bereaved, whether by suicide or other causes. Contact Cruse on 0844 477 9400 or at helpline@cruse.org.uk. Young people who are grieving can call the Cruse young people’s helpline free on 0808 808 1677 or email info@rd4u.org.uk.

Please ask for help if you need it – there are people available 24 hours a day to help you.

Feature Picture is free to use as part of the Time to Change Get the Picture Campaign.

Explore Kent 2015

Walk, Ride, Get Outside! With Explore Kent Add to Your Support

Explore Kent have just launched their new website to inspire you to walk, ride and get outside!

If you’re looking for inspiration for getting outdoors there is no better time! Spring has sprung and there are lambs, bluebells and daffodils in abundance! There’s a great bluebell walk in Ham Street woods and blossom-a-plenty along the Teynham walk.

There is miles of walks, coastlines, woods, cycle paths and more to discover. So as the weather gets warmer why not get inspired by the new Explore Kent website and get out in the amazing county that we live in.

For inspiration and ideas go to: http://explorekent.org/

Secondhand smoke

Is it time to quit smoking? Add to Your Support

Now is a great time to quit smoking. Did you know that there is a band coming into effect in England on the 1 October 2015 which will stop people from smoking in cars carrying children? The reason for this is because children are vulnerable to secondhand smoke so the best way to protect your and your family is to make your home and your car smokefree. So why don’t you take advantage of the range of free help and support available to help you stop smoking and be smokefree?

Why is the ban coming in? 

  • Secondhand smoke is particularly harmful to children as they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways. Children being exposed to secondhand smoke results in more than 300,000 GP consultations and 9,500 hospital admissions every year.
  • The government estimates that three million children in England are exposed to secondhand smoke in their family car, which puts them at risk of serious conditions including, respiratory infections, meningitis and triggering asthma.
  • A survey by the British Lung Foundation found that 86% of children who are exposed to smoking in cars would like the smoker to stop; yet only 31% actually feel able to ask them to do so.

The law will come into force on 1 October 2015, and people failing to comply could face a £50 fixed penalty notice.

So come on, isn’t it time you stop smoking!  Theres lots of free help and advice out there to support you quitting the habit so why not take the first steps to a smokefree you.

Stop Smoking Advice: 

To find out more about the health implications about second-hand smoke and the reasons for the ban go to:

Depression Awareness Week

Depression Awareness Week 20 – 26 April Add to Your Support

Depression Awareness Week, taking place 20th – 26th April, is a chance to raise awareness and understanding of depression, and how you can help or access support.

There are times when we all feel sad, hopeless or fed up; it’s part of life. Depression is different. With depression these feelings don’t just go away. They can last for months, becoming so intense that carrying on with everyday life can feel impossible.

Depression can be hard to spot. There are many different symptoms, some emotional and some physical. If you think depression is affecting you, it might be time to talk to someone you can visit your GP for help, call the free 24 help line Mental Health Matters helpline on: 0800 107 0160 or for mobiles: 0300 330 5486 or refer yourself into free NHS Therapy and Counselling in Kent and Medway and get the help that is available to you.

Depression can affect anyone. You might feel guilty or frustrated that you can’t find the motivation to keep up with things, and it can be especially hard to spot the symptoms if you’ve been feeling the same way for a long time. Many people find they also experience anxiety alongside their symptoms, so nausea, breathlessness and headaches are all signs that it might be time to get help.

Depression is common, and you don’t have to struggle with it alone. Spotting the signs and getting help early can be vital, so talk to someone about it and visit your GP for help.

There is free NHS Counselling and Therapy available in Kent and Medway to find your local service please follow the link to the Live It Well Counselling and Therapy pages and look at the listings in your local area.

Depression Alliance is leading the awareness week, is asking people to get involved and support the campaign by posting a photo of themselves on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #StandUpAgainstDepression. Find out more about their work by following the link.

Care for the Planet

World Earth Day 2015 Add to Your Support

World Earth Day 2015 is celebrated on 22 April.  Earth Day is a day to think about our planet and what we can do to keep it special; to think about saving water and energy, reducing pollution, recycling, protecting our animals, trees and plants, and generally getting people interested in protecting their environment.

Care for the Planet is one of the Six Ways to Wellbeing and it encourages you to look after your community and the world.  Make small changes to your life that will reduce your energy use, recycle more, leave the car at home, use low energy light bulbs, small steps to a greener life can make a difference.

If you want some ideas and suggestions as to how you can Care for the Planet go to our Ways to Care for the Planet page.

Here are some quick ideas for celebrating Earth Day with your children:

  • Plant a vegetable / flower
  • Go for a bike ride or a long walk (leave the car behind)
  • Hold a nature “scavenger hunt” (send the kids out into the garden or park in teams to collect – or spot – various items on a list you provide)
  • Print out some of our posters and place in strategic positions around the house. Talk about saving water when brushing teeth and saving energy by turning off the lights when you leave a room
  • Bake your favourite cookie or biscuit recipe and let the kids decorate with icing to look like the planet earth
  • Gather family and friends together and combine a picnic or other excursion with a litter clean-up
  • Set up a recycling centre in your home or school
  • Look through your shelves and find some books to give away via your local charity shop or library

To find out more about Earth Day go to: www.earthday.org

Is Your Mate off of their game?

Is your Mate off of their Game? Add to Your Support

How do you know if your mate is off their game? Every year, one in four of us faces a mental health problem. That means the odds are 3/1 that at least one player on every five-a-side team is wrestling with a mental health problem right now. Or in every bus queue, at every tea-break or in every boy band. Feeling miserable puts you off your game so how do you know if you or someone you know has a mental health problem? You can’t tell by looking, but we can kick mental health problems into touch just by not ignoring them.

What if a mate has a problem?
Don’t judge. Because we don’t really understand mental health problems, sometimes we shy away from people who have them. We pretend we’re different, that these things won’t affect us. But they do. One person in four means that mental health problems are very common. They hit people just like us. In fact, they can hit you or me.  By being around for someone with a mental health problem, you’re being a mate when they need you most. If you think a mate is bottling something up, there’s a simple way to make a difference:

Do something together: Car, computer, exercise, garden, walk – even housework. Get them to give you a hand. Feeling wanted makes us all feel better. You don’t have to talk but if you want to, doing something together makes it easier.  James regularly meets up with his friends and they connect over football, watch James’s story about how doing something together (Connecting) is good for your wellbeing.

Keep it real: take it seriously but don’t make it a big deal. Ask them how it’s going. Simple. You don’t need to be an expert, you just need ears. We need to talk about it. It’s easier than you might think.

You don’t need any special skills, you just need to be willing to do it. Here’s what you can do if you think a friend is feeling crap:

  • Ask: how’s its going? Three words that can make a big difference.
  • Keep in touch more: text or email if you can’t meet up.
  • Doing stuff together is as good as a chat: let your mate see that you know they are still the same person.
  • Talk. Swap stories: don’t ignore the difficult stuff if it comes up – you don’t need to solve it, you just need ears.
  • Keep it real: don’t make a big deal of how your mate is feeling but don’t make light of it either.
  • Be there: ask if you can do anything.

Watch out for extremes compared to typical behaviour. This includes mood swings or being unusually angry or aggressive, having no energy or way too much energy, wanting to be alone more and more or wanting to go out more and more or refuelling too much with drink or drugs.  It can happen to anyone. You included.

If you’re worried you’re missing out on life because you’re feeling crap, talk about it. Talk to family, friends, a helpline or other professionals. It doesn’t have to be someone you know.  The NHS have funded talking therapies in Kent and Medway find out how you can refer yourself into this service here by following the link or you can always ring the 24 Mental Health Matters helpline on 0800 107 0160 from landlines or 0300 330 5486 for mobiles or go to our Need Help Now page for more information on 24 hour help and support.

The Mens Health Forum have been working with Time to Change to develop some more information that could help you. Find out more at the links below:


Mental Health Consultation Kent

Consultation on Community Mental Health Services in Kent Add to Your Support

Kent County Council and the and the Clinical Commissioning Groups have just launched their Public Consultation on Community Mental Health and Wellbeing services in Kent.

Kent County Council and the and the Clinical Commissioning Groups are working to develop a new model of support for people with mental health and wellbeing needs in Kent. This will re-shape services to meet increasing demand, re-balance investment and ensure there is a consistent offer of support across the county.

To find out more and how you can have your say in how Kent’s Community Mental Health Services should look in the future go to the Consultation on Community Mental Health Services letter. Where you will see additional information and links to how you can have your say.

Or to go straight to the consultation questionnaire follow this link. (This will take you to an Kent County Council questionnaire).  If you find the font too small on this questionnaire try clicking ctrl & + at the same time to adjust your screen settings. For additional information to customise your screens please go to the BBC My Web My Way pages.

The closing date for this consultation is the 30 April.

To see this information on the Kent County Council Consultation website follow the link.