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NHS Therapy Kent

Free NHS Counselling Get back on Track Add to Your Support

Are you feeling stressed or depressed or anxious? Or struggling with a phobia, eating disorder or addiction? Or if you are looking for someone to help you through a difficult time in life, maybe a friend or relative has died or you’re struggling with fertility of if you have lost your job?

If you answered yes to any of the above why not refer yourself into see a free NHS funded therapist?  There are a range of free NHS funded talking therapists based across Kent and Medway. Talking therapies, sometimes known as counselling can help all sorts of people in many different situations. Talking therapy, or counselling is for anyone who’s going through a bad time or who has emotional problems they are struggling to sort out on their own.

Why talking therapy or counselling may help:

Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger than to relatives or friends. During talking therapy, a trained therapist listens to you and helps you find your own answers to problems, without judging you. The therapist will give you time to talk, cry, shout or just think. It’s an opportunity to look at your problems in a different way with someone who’ll respect and encourage your opinions and the decisions you make.

To find your local free NHS funded talking therapy service go to our NHS Counselling and Therapy page and look up the information in your local area.

NHS Talking Therapies provide counselling and support for common mental health problems; anxiety, low mood, low self-esteem, stress, trauma, phobias and anger, as well as problems with regards to relationships, work or debt.   


Good Mental Health Matters

Good Mental Health Matters Add to Your Support

Good Mental Health Matters is a new website for young people to help with mental health, if you need support or are worried about someone Good Mental Health Matters can help.

Overwhelmed, anxious, under pressure, depressed, vulnerable, fearful of the future, scared of your own emotions or not able to sleep well? You’re not alone. Good Mental health Matters are there to help.

There’s no doubt that certain mental health disorders need proper diagnosis and professional care but, when it comes to keeping stress in check, there is a great deal we can do to protect ourselves and prevent more serious difficulties. 7 common-sense action points can help us take control of our whole wellbeing and develop healthy emotional resilience. Learn to cope with difficult situations, without letting them rule our feelings or damage our mental health. Emotional resilience can be learned, practiced and developed.

For Parents and Carers:

If you are worried about someone there is also advice and support for parents and carers.  Understanding more about what might be going on in your teenager’s head may help you understand certain behaviours and decide how to best respond. Supporting them in the simple strategies outlined here should have a positive effect on the whole family. There is much more help available – visit the website to find out more and get excited about the small changes you can make to promote Good Mental Health.

For more information go to: www.goodmentalhealthmatters.com

Kent Mental Health 2016

The Kent Mental Health Festival 2016 needs you! Add to Your Support

The first Kent Mental Health Festival 2016 is planned for the 11 October at the Leas Cliff Hall and Channel Suite in Folkestone. The festival will be to celebrate mental health and wellbeing and promote the help and support that is available across Kent.  The festival will be open to everyone with stalls and entertainment happening throughout the day.
There will be two festival events one in the daytime between 11am – 4pm this event will have stalls, workshops and talks as well as entertainment and then in the evening from 6.30 onward there is an event planned with music (all timings to be confirmed).

If you want to get involved and be part of the Kent Mental Health festival in any way that you can, and if you have any additional ideas or skills that you could offer to this celebration of mental health and wellbeing please email the organisers at: kentmentalhealthfestival@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

If you want to book a stall at the Kent Mental Health Festival, please complete the booking form and return it to kentmentalhealthfestival@sanctuary-housing.co.uk. All proceeds will be donated to support Mental Health Crisis Cafes.

The Kent Mental Health Festival 2016 needs you’re help to make this event a success, there are many ways you and your organisation can get involved:

  • Are you interested in having a stall – it could be to promote your services or products?
  • If you want to run a workshop promoting mental health and wellbeing or can give a talk on the day
  • If you run a business that could provide sponsorship to this festival
  • If you are able to provide transport to the event
  • If you want to volunteer as a steward or helper on the day
  • If you can run an event i.e. cake sale or coffee morning to raise funds for the festival
  • If you would like to be filmed and interviewed to promote your service as part of the day

If you want to get involved and be part of the Kent Mental Health festival in any way that you can, and if you have any additional ideas or skills that you could offer to this celebration of mental health and wellbeing please email the organisers at: kentmentalhealthfestival@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

If you want to book a stall at the Kent Mental Health Festival, please complete the booking form and return it to kentmentalhealthfestival@sanctuary-housing.co.uk.

The next Kent Mental Health Festival working group meeting is at 11am on 30  August at the Dover Council Offices, Maison Dieu House, Biggin Street, Dover, CT16 1DW.



Survey on Children and Young Peoples Mental Health

Survey on Mental Health for Children and Young People Add to Your Support

Do you want to help improve mental health services for children and young people in Kent?

NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and Kent County Council, which plan and pay for emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people in the area, are preparing to buy a new Children’s and Young People’s Mental Health Service.

It’s important that the service reflects the needs and expectations of patients and their families. If you are a patient, carer, young person or child who has used CAMHS you are invited to complete this survey. Your views and experiences will help to shape a new and improved service for Kent.

To access the survey and share your views go to:


10 Minute Shake ups 2016

10 Minute Shake Up’s for Summer Add to Your Support

Change 4 Life are running the 10 Minute Shake Up challenge again this summer.  10 Minute Shake Up’s are quick and easy activities to get your kids moving and active this summer.  Change 4 Life have teamed up with Disney and created some fantastic ways to help your kids get the recommended 60 minutes or more of physical activity they need every day. Being active helps your kids maintain a healthy weight and helps their heart and bones stay healthy. Plus, playing together can also help them develop social skills and gain confidence. There’ll be loads of games to choose from.

Change 4 Life have teamed with Disney to get your kids to have more fun this summer so why not sign up for 10 minute shake up’s, its free, you will get:

  • A free pack with stopwatch, activity cards, Disney themed wall chart & stickers
  • Lots of games and activities in the 10 minute shake up zone

Go to Change 4 Life and sign up to shake up your summer now!

Change 4 Life 10 Minute Shake Ups

To see all the 10 Minute Shake Up featuring all the Disney characters go to: www.nhs.uk/change4life-beta/campaigns/ten-minute-shake-up/shake-ups

Want more ideas from Change for Life?

To sign up for change for life go to: change4life.co.uk

Smart Food Swaps



National Parks Week 2016

National Parks Week 2016 Add to Your Support

National Parks Week is the National Parks family’s annual celebration of everything that is unique and wonderful about Britain’s breathing spaces. It runs from Monday 25 to Sunday 31 July 2016.

The theme for National Parks Week 2016 is adventure. With diverse landscapes, activities and events there’s an adventure waiting at whatever scale suits you!

In national parks you can have adventures for all those thrill seekers looking for their next adrenaline rush. As well as countless events on in each park throughout the week aimed specifically at children. National Parks are also running  ‘adventures for beginners’. There is an adventure out there for everyone so why not make the most of your national park.

Make the most of your National Parks

National Parks week is run by : www.nationalparks.gov.uk and they have compiled some of their favourites, to inspire you:

There are countless outdoor activities in which to take part, including walkingcycling and star-gazing.

Enjoying one of our National Parks is a great way to Be Active and Take Notice, two of the Six Ways to Wellbeing.

Photo used (C) of southdownsnp on instagram.

Couch to 5K Running Plan

Couch to 5K – free running plan Add to Your Support

Taking up running can seem like a scary prospect, especially if you feel out of shape or unfit. But, did you know that regular running can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke, boost your mood and keep your weight under control?
The Couch to 5K plan is designed to get you off the couch and gradually work you up to running 5K or for half an hour, in just nine weeks.

What is Couch to 5K?

Couch to 5K is a running plan developed to help absolute beginners get into running. The beginners’ running plan was developed by a novice runner, Josh Clark, who wanted to help his fiftysomething mum get off the couch and start running too. The plan involves three runs per week, with a day of rest in between, with a different schedule for each of the nine weeks.

How does Couch to 5K work?

Probably the biggest challenge a novice runner faces is not knowing how or where to start. Often when trying to get into exercise, we can overdo it, feel defeated and give up when we’re just getting started. Couch to 5K works because it starts with a mix of running and walking, to gradually build up your fitness and stamina. Week One involves running for just a minute at a time, creating realistic expectations and making the challenge feel achievable right from the start.

Who is Couch to 5K for?

Couch to 5K is for everyone. Whether you’ve never run before, or if you want to get back into being more active, Couch to 5K is a free and easy way of getting fitter and more healthy. If you have any health concerns about beginning an exercise regime such as Couch to 5K, make an appointment to see your GP and discuss it with them first.

To read about the Couch to 5K plan on NHS Choices follow the link: www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/get-running-with-couch-to-5k.aspx

To download the running plan: www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Couch-to-5K-running-plan.aspx

To download the free app at Change 4 Life: http://www.nhs.uk/change4life/pages/couch-to-5k.aspx

Domestic Abuse

Domestic Abuse Help Add to Your Support

One woman in four (and one man in six) in the UK will be a victim of domestic violence during their lifetime, according to research estimates. You dont have to be a victim and can get domestic abuse help. Domestic violence is officially classified as “any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been in a relationship together, or between family members, regardless of gender or sexuality”. We think of domestic violence as hitting, slapping and beating, but it can also include emotional abuse as well as forced marriage and so-called “honour crimes”.

It’s abuse if your partner or a family member:

  • threatens you
  • shoves or pushes you
  • makes you fear for your physical safety
  • puts you down, or attempts to undermine your self-esteem
  • controls you, for example by stopping you seeing your friends and family
  • is jealous and possessive, such as being suspicious of your friendships and conversations
  • frightens you

You don’t have to wait for an emergency situation to seek help. You can:

For more advice about Domestic Abuse go to the NHS choices Domestic Abuse page by following the link.



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 Release the pressureunusually 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 free 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 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:


World Blood Donor Day

Blood Donor Day Add to Your Support

Its World Blood Donor day on the 14 June so why not think about becoming a donor. Blood donors are a life-saving team, and your donation is needed. Blood is something we all expect to be there for us when we need it, yet only 4% of us give blood – many people would not be alive today if it wasn’t for the generosity of donors. Most people can give blood, but all donors have to meet the eligibility criteria before their blood is accepted to ensure there’s no risk of us harming you or the patients who will receive it.

In England, around 8,000 blood transfusions are carried out every day. Therefore, the need for blood donations remains high. As blood can only be safely stored for a relatively short time, hospital blood stocks need to be continuously refreshed. For example, red blood cells can only be stored for 35 days and platelets (the part of the blood that helps prevent excessive bleeding) can only be stored for seven days.

In particular, blood donations are needed from black and Asian people because the current levels of black and Asian donors are very low. Certain ethnic groups often require certain blood types, so having a range of donations from a wide range of ethnic groups is a more effective way of meeting the potential demand for blood.

Find out how to donate by following the link: www.blood.co.uk

Do you want to know more about what happens when you donate blood? NHS Choices have some information that can help you, follow the link

Bike Week 2016

Bike Week 2016 Add to Your Support

Bike Week 2016 is taking place between the 11 – 19  June. Bike Week is a great opportunity to promote cycling and show how easy it is to make cycling an everyday part of your life by encouraging ‘everyday cycling for everyone‘. Bike Week highlights how cycling is good for your health, the environment and it can be fun!

The theme of Bike Week 2016 is cycling to work and there are lots of events to promote ‘buddy’ rides or the safest routes to your place of work. You can even sign up for a Be Activeworkplace challenge.

  • So to take part in Bike Week go to: bikeweek.org.uk
  • For cycling routes, free guided bike rides and inspiration to get on your bike go to Explore Kent: explorekent.org
  • Or for free guided cycle routes for all ages and all abilities go to GoSkyRide: www.goskyride.com/kent

Not interested in cycling but looking for other ways to Be Active go to our Six Ways to Wellbeing Be Active page and get inspired.

Mens Health Week 2016

Men’s Health Week 2016 Add to Your Support

Men’s Health Week 2016 is from the 13 – 19 June and will focus on How Do You Beat Stress?  We all get stressed the question is what do you do about it? Stress matters because if we don’t release stress it can turn into something more serious.

Every year one in four of use develops a mental health problem and stress is one of these. There are many ways we can beat stress, exercise, sing, dance, laugh, play or listen to music, paint, write, volunteer, learning something new and lots more.

Release the pressure 2016One of the easiest ways to beat stress is to talk about it.   Talk to your mates, talk to your family and there is always professional help in Kent we have Release the Pressure campaign and 24 hour free helpline: 0800 107 0160 and free NHS Therapy services that you can refer yourself into.

  • To find out more about the Mens Health Forum How Do Beat Stress Campaign go to: www.menshealthforum.org.uk. They have ideas for how you can get involved in their campaign as well as free downloads and resources for you or your organisation.
  • To find out more about Release the Pressure go to: www.releasethepressure.uk
  • To find out where your local free NHS Counselling and Therapy services are in Kent go to: www.liveitwell.org.uk/therapy
Carers Week 2016

Carers Week 2016 Add to Your Support

Carers Week 2016 is running from the 6 – 12 June. Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlight the challenges that carers face and recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

The theme of this years carers week is Carer Friendly Communities. Carer Friendly Communities are places where carers feel supported to look after their family or friends, and recognised as individuals with needs of their own. Carers Week are asking people to recommend organisations, services and employers who are already carer friendly and invite other organisations to use our checklist to commit to becoming carer friendly.

One in eight of us are currently carers looking after an ill, frail or disabled family member or friend. The very nature of caring means very often people don’t at first, or sometimes ever, identify themselves as carers. Rather, they think of themselves simply as wife, husband, son, daughter, mum, dad or perhaps grandparent, niece or nephew helping a loved one.

Without the right help and support caring can have a devastating impact – carers can quickly become cut off with their physical and emotional health, work and, their finances all hit hard.

Carers Week is brought to life by the individuals and organisations who come together to organise activities and events throughout the UK, drawing attention to just how important caring is.

For more information and advice about caring go to Live It Well Carers page.

Dementia Awareness Week 2015

Dementia Awareness Week 2016 Add to Your Support

This years Dementia Awareness Week is happening from 15 – 21 May. Dementia Awareness week wants to raise awareness and understanding of dementia. In 2015 there were 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:

Mental Health Awareness Week 2016

Mental Health Awareness Week 16 – 22 May Add to Your Support

It is Mental Health Awareness week from the 16 – 22 May.  The theme for 2016 Mental Health Awareness week is Relationships. Healthy and supportive relationships reduce the risk of mental ill-health. This Mental Health Awareness Week we are focusing on the connections, the relationships, the people in our lives that add to our wellbeing and protect and sustain our mental health. From family and friends, to colleagues and neighbours; taking notice of those connections that make you feel safe and supported.

As well a healthy diet or exercise, strong social networks and connections that improve our mental wellbeing. Mental Health Awareness Week 2016 is all about recognising this, and thanking the people that support you, reaching out to those who you can listen to and help, and campaigning to ensure that decision makers start addressing the barriers that stop people forming such important relationships.

In Mental Health Awareness week why not hold an event to start a conversation and get people thinking about mental health. The Mental Health Foundation have a lot of great ideas as to how you can get people talking, they also have free resources to support your event you can find these here: mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/get-involved

Connect is one of the Six Ways to Wellbeing for some simple and quick ways to connect and help to build relationships see our quick tips below:

Connect 10 quick tips

Mental Health Awareness Week is being promotion by the Mental Health Foundation to find out more and how to get involved go to: www.mentalhealth.org.uk

For more on why this years theme is relationships go to: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/why-relationships

Twitter hashtag: #MHAW16.