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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.

National Walking Month 2016

National Walking Month May 2016 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.

Living Streets are running the #try20 campaign in national walking month. #try20 is encouraging everyone to walk for 20 minutes every day in May so why not sign up to the pledge and get walking. Walking is the easiest and cheapest way to improve your health.

Take the Living Streets #try20 pledge here: www.livingstreets.org.uk/nwm

For more ideas on how you can get walking in Kent 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

Mental Health East Kent Survey 2016

Mental Health Survey for East Kent – Have Your Say Add to Your Support

The east Kent mental health commissioning team is keen to involve people in developing its work with mental health and have designed a survey to get your views. The east Kent mental health commissioning team want to hear from you about your priorities for mental health and how these services should look in the future.

The east Kent mental health commissioning team want to know what you really think.

Do you have views about local mental health services? Have you used them? Avoided them but needed them?

You are the experts in what works and what needs to change. The east Kent mental health commissioning team would really like to hear from you to help develop their priorities for the future and improve services.

The east Kent mental health commissioning team is introducing co-production in its work, which means including people affected by mental health issues. They would like to invite you to become involved in this future work by leaving your email address on the survey so the team can contact you.

The east Kent mental health commissioning team would like to hear from you if you:

  • Have experience of local mental health services, or are close to someone who has used these services, for example, a family member.
  • Have not been in touch with mental health services but wanted to be.
  • Are passionate about helping other people to feed in their views and experiences, but do not necessarily have personal experience of mental health difficulties.

The survey can be found here:  www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/EKMHComm

The survey is running until the 31 May 2016, so have your say and get involved.

If you have any questions about the survey, require hard copies or want to know more about the team then please email: ekmentalhealth.commissioning@nhs.net


Mind Ed:Online support for childrens mental health issues Add to Your Support

The new MindEd online resource has been launched to provide information and advice concerning children’s mental health and wellbeing.  The MindEd online resource is for concerned children and their families to seek help and advice.  MindEd directs visitors to sections including ‘risky behaviour’, ‘eating disorders’, ‘sexual orientation and gender’ and ‘being a parent in the digital age’ for expert advice.

Topics on the website include:

  • Should I Be Worried?
  • What To Do In A Crisis
  • Death And Loss (Including Pets)
  • Trauma And Coping
  • Talking To My Child
  • Who Can Help Us?
  • Building Confidence And Resilience
  • Parenting In A Digital World
  • Refusal To Go To School
  • Bullying And What To Do As A Parent
  • Sexual Orientation And Gender
  • Eating Disorders

The website has been developed by the The Department for Education and Department of Health

To go to the MindEd webpage follow the link:  minded.e-lfh.org.uk/families/index.html

Release the Pressure

Release the Pressure Add to Your Support

Sometimes life is difficult, tough and full of different pressures. All of these pressures can build up and you may feel that there is nowhere to turn, but there is always someone there that will listen to you and help to release the pressure.

If you feel that you cannot talk to those close to you why not call the freephone 24 helpline on 0800 107 0160 and talk to someone confidentially and without judgement. Talking can help release the pressure which can help you get you back on track and by getting back on track you can be yourself again.  Any problem which is causing you pressure can make life difficult – so go on, call 0800 107 0160 and someone will be there to listen.

Find out how talking confidentially to someone has made a huge difference to men in Kent by going to the www.releasethepressure.uk website to find out more.

Freephone 24 hour help: 0800 107 0160 Release the pressure 2016

If you are worried that a mate is not coping well under pressure don’t judge them there could be a simple way to make a difference:

Do something together: Car, computer, exercise, garden, walk. Get them to give you a hand.  You don’t have to talk but if you want to, doing something together makes it easier.

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, give them the freephone number 0800 107 0160 if they can’t open up to you.

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.

www.releasethepressure.uk is a campaign by Kent County Council Public Health Department. If you want to know more about the campaign or know of an organisation or group or location that would be willing to help distribute leaflets or display posters then please contact: tim.woodhouse@kent.gov.uk.

For information about the FREE NHS Counselling services available in Kent go to:


0800 107 0160 is the free 24 hr Mental Health Matters helpline

Live Well Kent

Live Well Kent Add to Your Support

The Live Well Kent new community mental health and wellbeing service launches today.  The new Live Well Kent service is there to help people improve their mental and physical health and wellbeing. It is a free service for anyone over 17. Live Well Kent is delivered on behalf of Kent County Council and the NHS by two charities, Porchlight and Shaw Trust.

Some of the things Live Well Kent can help with are:

Mental health and wellbeing

  • Understanding and managing thoughts and emotions
  • Achieving personal goals
  • Accessing therapies and support groups.

Keeping active and healthy

  • Healthy living support eg stopping smoking or cutting down on alcohol
  • Dance clubs
  • Walking groups and sporting activities.

Meeting people

  • Volunteering
  • Social enterprises and community projects
  • Arts, music and culture groups.

Training and work

  • Gaining new skills
  • Finding the right job.

Everyday living

  • Managing money, including debt and benefits
  • Housing support and guidance

Live Well Kent’s aim is to connect people with their communities, ensuring they have access to the widest possible range of support and services to meet their particular needs.

So if you are looking for help and support for yourself or someone you know call on 0800 567 7699 or email info@livewellkent.org.uk and they will talk you through how they can help you and give the support and advice you need. To go to their website go to: www.livewellkent.org.uk

Walking for health

Walking for Health Add to Your Support

Want to get fit in 2016?  Don’t want to join a gym but would like to enjoy the outdoors and meet new people when why not try walking? Walking for Health are organised walks for people of all abilities available all over Kent.  If you find it difficult to get active, why not start walking? It’s really easy to get started, you don’t need any special equipment – and best of all it counts towards your recommended amount of physical activity.

Walking can improve your health, your happiness and, if you join one of our groups, it will give you the chance to Be Active to explore the outdoors and Take Notice & Connect with your local area and meet new people.

To find out more about Walking for Health follow the link: www.walkingforhealth.org.uk

To find your local Walking for Health scheme follow this link and put in your postcode: www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder

The video below highlights just a few of the benefits that thousands of people across the country get from walking.

Depression Awareness Week 2016

Depression Awareness Week 2016 Add to Your Support

Depression Awareness Week is taking place this year between 18 – 24 April. Everyone feels down at some time in their lives. Usually these moments pass. But if they don’t, there is a range of support for you. Depression Awareness Week, is running from 18 – 24 April, was devised by the Depression Alliance to highlight the help which is available and to encourage people to share their problems and fears.

One in five of us are likely to have depression. It can make everyday things such as speaking to friends, eating a meal or even just getting out of bed feel almost impossible to manage. Some people have to take time off work. Others find it difficult and exhausting to do things they used to enjoy.

It may be triggered by difficulties at work, relationship problems, bereavement or the strain of looking after someone with long-term health problems.  It can also just arrive out of the blue.  Not being able to ‘see’ depression like, say, a broken arm or a leg, can often make it difficult to explain what it is like. Many don’t want to talk about it to their family, friends or colleagues.  They may hope it will go away by itself or feel that they just need to ‘toughen up’ and ’snap out of it’

As a general rule, if you have experienced four or more of the following symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day, for more than two weeks, then you should seek help:

  • Tiredness and loss of energy
  • Persistent sadness
  • Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Not being able to enjoy things that are usually pleasurable or interesting
  • Undue feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
  • Sleeping problems – difficulties in getting off to sleep or waking up much earlier than usual
  • Avoiding other people, sometimes even your close friends
  • Finding it hard to function at work/college/school
  • Loss of appetite
  • Physical aches and pains

There is a free Mental Health Matters helpline: 0800 107 0160 which provides confidential emotional advice and guidance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

To find out more about NHS funded therapy and counselling that you can refer yourself into follow the link.

To find out more about the Six Ways to Wellbeing Campaign which are six simple steps that can improve your wellbeing click on the link.

For more about Depression Awareness Week and how to get involved go to: www.depressionalliance.org/get-involved/depression-awareness-week-2016

Fore more about the Depresion Alliance go to: www.depressionalliance.org

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.   


World Autism Awareness Day

Autism Awareness Day Add to Your Support

It is Autism Awareness Day on April 2. Autism Awareness Day is a chance to raise awareness about autism and to make a difference to the lives of autistic people. There are lots of ways that you can get involved in Autism Awareness Day. The National Autistic Society has a free guide filled with great suggestions as to how you can get involved and raise awareness on World Autism Day.   The United Nations is also raising awareness of World Autism Day by their ‘Light It Up Blue’ Campaign. On the 2 April thousands of iconic landmarks, skyscrapers, schools, businesses and homes all over the globe unite by shining bright blue lights to raise awareness of autism.  Find out how to get involved in the Light It Up Blue campaign at the link.

What is Autism?

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them.

Autism is a spectrum condition, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways. Some people with autism are able to live relatively independent lives but others may have accompanying learning disabilities and need a lifetime of specialist support. People with autism may also experience over- or under-sensitivity to sounds, touch, tastes, smells, light or colours.

Asperger syndrome is a form of autism. People with Asperger syndrome are often of average or above average intelligence. They have fewer problems with speech but may still have difficulties with understanding and processing language.

To find out more about Autism and to get involved in World Autism Awareness Day follow the links below:

For the free guide on how you can get involved in Autism Awareness Day go to: www.autism.org.uk/get-involved/world-autism-awareness-week/pack-download.aspx


If you are thinking of Lighting It Blue for Autism the Autism Speaks website has lots of ideas and resources that can help:

Time to change training pack

Time to Change – free Training pack Add to Your Support

Time to Change has published a new free training pack to help reduce the stigma and discrimination experienced by people when using mental health services.

Time to Change, the mental health anti-stigma campaign, in partnership with NHS England, has worked with mental health professionals and people using services to develop new training materials.

The project is in response to research, which shows that – despite positive changes in attitudes towards people with mental health problems in some areas of life – 1 in 3 people report stigma and discrimination when they use mental health services.

Time to Change, developed the training pack specifically to encourage open dialogue amongst mental health teams about the positive changes that they can make to improve their culture and practice – both in secure and community settings.

The pack is available through the Time to Change website and will include a film and supporting materials to be used as part of staff supervisions.

You can access the free training pack here: www.time-to-change.org.uk/professionals/access-resources

For more about Time to Change go to: www.time-to-change.org.uk

How are you One You

One You – How Are You? Add to Your Support

There is only One You and sometimes we get stuck in bad habits and forget that we could make small changes which could have a really positive impact on us now and in later life. The One You online quiz will help you identify not only physical things that you can change but will also looks at your stress levels and the pressures that might be affecting you and then suggest some small changes that you could make that will have a positive impact on your physical and mental health.

The One You online quiz called ‘How Are You’ will give you some personal recommendations based on your results and will direct you to tools and advice to help you take action where it’s most needed. It could be that you need to move more, drink less, eat better or quit smoking things we all know can help us be healthier but On You also has suggestions for lowering stress and sleeping better. Living healthily in midlife can double your chances of being healthy at 70 and beyond, so why not make some small changes that your future self will thank you for.

Earth Hour 2016

World Earth Hour 2016 Add to Your Support

World Earth Hour 2016 is being celebrated on 19 March.  Earth hour is an annual event set up by WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and is when millions of people across the world switch off their lights for an hour to show they care for our planet. Earth Hour has been growing every year and last year 162 countries took part. Earth Hour will mean that lights on landmarks all over the world are switched off and you can be part of Earth Hour too. How? Simply switch off your lights for one hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on Saturday 19 March.

For one hour, focus on your commitment to our planet for the rest of this year. To celebrate, you can have a candle lit dinner, talk to your neighbours, stargaze, go camping, play board games, have a concert, screen an environmental documentary post the hour, create or join a community event – the possibilities are endless. Have an event idea why not share it on the Earth Hour website?

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.

To find out more about Earth Hour and how you, your community and your workplace can get involved go to: www.earthhour.org.