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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 to read about the success of the campaign in it’s first year go to: https://kccmediahub.net/boost-kents-release-pressure-campaign745.

For information about the NHS Counselling services available in Kent go to: www.liveitwell.org.uk/support-help/nhs-counselling-therapy-kent-medway.

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.



Talk to your Family Time to Change

Talking to your child about Mental Health Add to Your Support

Time to Change are encouraging all families to start talking about Mental Health.  If you haven’t spoken about mental health in your family, you’re not alone. Talking mental health with your son or daughter might feel like a tricky topic. But conversations about it come in many forms, and showing you’d be open to that conversation means they will be more likely to come to you should they experience a mental health problem – directly or through seeing a friend go through it. It’s worth bearing in mind that:

  • Simply showing you would be happy to talk is significant
  • Short, informal chats can make a big difference – whenever and wherever they happen
  • There are lots of places you can find out more about mental health

Remember, not knowing things about mental health is OK. Just being available and open to talk about it will almost always help.

To find out how to start the conversation go to Time to Change at the links below:

or to find out about mental health and young people go to:

Be in your mates corner Time To Change

Be in Your Mates Corner Add to Your Support

1 in 4 of us will fight a mental health problem this year. Surprisingly common, isn’t it? Yet, too many people are still made to feel isolated, ashamed and worthless as a result. Being in your mate’s corner could make all the difference. So, if your mate is acting differently, step in.

Here are three easy ways:

  1. Ask them how they are. Face to face, by text or by phone.
  2. Listen, without judging.
  3. Be yourself. Talk about normal, everyday things.

As well as taking steps to be there for a friend, everyone is being encouraged to share the new film. To find out more information about the campaign and how you can get involved, visit: www.time-to-change.org.uk/inyourcorner

Time to Change is now urging people to recognise how their attitudes and behaviours can influence others’ experiences of mental health problems – and that being in a friend’s corner can make all the difference. The shows straightforward ways that anyone can be there for someone.

It’s not hard to be in someone’s corner, and it could have a big impact: “Just be yourself, let them know you are there for them and spend time doing fun, light-hearted mate things. Sometimes it’s not about talking about problems. Sometimes it’s about having a way of not having to talk about them.”

If you want to do something today, you could share the film with your mates on social media. You might even want to tag someone who’s been #inyourcorner in the past.

For more about the campaign and how to get involved go to: www.time-to-change.org.uk/inyourcorner

Carers Week 2017

Carers Week 2017 Add to Your Support


Carers Week 2017 is running from the 12 – 18 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 Building 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 commit to becoming carer friendly community.

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.



Carers Survey

Kent Carer’s Survey – Have Your Say Add to Your Support

Do you care for someone? Kent County Council and Kent NHS are currently deciding which services to put in place to support Kent carers in the future. They are keen to hear your views and experiences, with particular interest in your experiences of accessing and receiving existing support.

It would be appreciated if you would take a few minutes to complete the following survey by 17 April.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8L7SHTD – this will open on a separate page.

For more about Caring in Kent go to: www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/care-and-support


Heads Together for better mental health Add to Your Support

Heads Together is tackling stigma by getting people talking about mental health, working with their partners, as well as a range of organisations and groups that have committed to support the campaign. Heads together are organising regular campaign events to start and change conversations on mental health with our partners and supporters.

There has been huge progress made to tackle stigma surrounding mental health in recent decades, but it still remains a key issue driven by negative associations, experience and language. Through this campaign, Their Royal Highnesses are keen to build on the great work that is already taking place across the country, to ensure that people feel comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing, feel able to support their friends and families through difficult times, and that stigma no longer prevents people getting help they need.

Heads Together have today launched a series of short films where people are talking about their mental health experiences and Heads Together want your film too! Heads Together are asking organisations and groups of all shapes and sizes that support our ambition to create millions of conversations on mental health in 2017 and change how we all talk about our mental wellbeing.

Supporters of Heads Together commit to helping change the conversation in three ways:

  • Role modelling good conversations on mental health by making very simple films following a format that we will provide
  • Sharing Heads Together films, messages and other materials through social media and directly to your members, employees, etc
  • Encouraging conversations on mental health in your club or organisation

Too often, people feel afraid to admit that they are struggling with their mental health. This fear of prejudice and judgement stops people from getting help and can destroy families and end lives. Heads Together wants to help people feel much more comfortable with their everyday mental wellbeing and have the practical tools to support their friends and family.

For more about Heads Together to join the campaign and to see all of the films go to: www.headstogether.org.uk

If you need to speak to someone now please call 0800 107 1060 which will take you to a free 24 hour helpline.

Or if you need some extra support there is NHS Therapy and Counselling available all over Kent, you can refer yourself into these services.  Find listings of your local services here: www.liveitwell.org.uk/support-help/nhs-counselling-therapy-kent-medway/

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 Add to Your Support

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 is running from 8 – 14 May with the theme of Surviving or Thriving. The Surviving or Thriving theme has been chosen to highlight that good mental health is more than just the absence of a mental health problem and is designed to make us think about why too few of us are living with good mental health. It seems that a lot of people are struggling to cope with the demands of life.

The Mental Health Foundation will be using the week to look at:

  • how many of us are surviving or thriving, and the difference between the two
  • why some communities are under strain and what government can do to support them to thrive
  • what steps we can take to look after our mental health, building resilience to cope with the demands of life

Why don’t you also get involved? Mental Health Awareness week is a great opportunity to get people talking about mental health, here are some suggestions of how you can get people involved:

  • Host a wellbeing walk – with friends, colleagues or people in your community
  • Set up a stand in your local hospital, community centre, library or supermarket
  • Hold a series of lectures or talks on mental health – make it interactive as possible and get the audience involved!

For some more ideas about how to raise awareness about mental health go to: www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week/get-involved/ideas

To find out about Mental Health Awareness Week go to: www.mentalhealth.org.uk

Time to Change also have some ideas and resources to get people involved in talking and thinking about mental health you can see these here: www.time-to-change.org.uk/get-involved

NHS Therapy Kent

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.   


Autism Awareness Week 2017 Add to Your Support

It is World Autism Awareness Week from the 27 March – 2 April. Autism Awareness Week 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 Week. The National Autistic Society has information on how to raise awareness of World Autism Week.  The United Nations is also raising awareness of World Autism Day by their ‘Light It Up Blue’ Campaign.

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:

International Happiness Day 2017

International Day of Happiness 2017 Add to Your Support

The 20 March is the International Day of Happiness a day designed the raise awareness of how important wellbeing and happiness are in our lives. March 20 gives us all a chance to hit our own pause button and to think about what happiness and wellbeing and what it means to us and how it is an essential element in our lives.

We all want to lead a happy life and want the people we love to be happy too. But as a society we are not giving this enough priority. Despite decades of economic growth we are no happier now than we were sixty years ago. We need to re-think our priorities. The good news is that our actions and choices can affect our happiness. What makes us happy has less to do with our money or possessions and more to do with our attitudes and relationships with other people.

Live It Well is encouraging everyone in Kent to take up the Six Ways to Wellbeing, which are six simple steps to increase your wellbeing and happiness. Why don’t you have a look at the Six Ways of Wellbeing page and take up at least one of the Ways to Wellbeing. Making small changes could make a big difference to your happiness and also have a positive effect on others.

A happier and more positive world is possible. Your actions can really make a difference.

The International Day of Happiness is organised by Action for Happiness. Action for Happiness is a movement of people from all walks of life who are taking action in their personal  lives, communities, workplaces and schools to help  create a happier and more caring society.  They have some great suggestions for making positive steps to be happier read more here:  www.actionforhappiness.org

Find out more at:

Get involved on the day on twitter with #happinessday

Sleep Awareness week 2017

Sleep Awareness Week Add to Your Support

Sleep Awareness Week is running from  5 – 12 March.  and we have some hints and tips on how to get a better nights sleep.  Getting a good night’s sleep allows our bodies and minds to rest, repair and re-energise. Not sleeping well can cause a range of problems, including poor concentration, low mood, irritability, and a weakened immune system. In the longer term, trouble sleeping can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety, stress and depression.

Good sleep doesn’t just mean lots of sleep: it means the right kind of sleep. Sleep affects our ability to use language, sustain attention, understand what we are reading, and summarise what we are hearing; if we compromise on our sleep, we compromise on our performance, our mood, and our interpersonal relationships. Sleep has also been shown to protect the immune system. The amount that each person needs is different; however, it is recommended that a healthy adult should sleep, on average, between seven and nine hours a night.

To see how you can get a better nights sleep follow the link to go to our sleep advice here.

To see the Mental Health Foundations pocket guide to better sleep which contains a sleep diary click here.



Self Injury Awareness

Self Injury Awareness Day Add to Your Support

Its National Self Injury Awareness Day on the 1 March. If you are experiencing issues with self injury or are worried about a family member or a friend there is support and information out there.

What is Self Injury? Deliberate self-harm is a term used when someone intentionally injures or harms him or herself. We all have accidents and end up with cuts and bruises through no fault of our own – but it’s the cuts and bruises that we cause ourselves on purpose that are classified as self-harm.

It has been estimated that one in twelve young people in the UK have self-harmed at some point in their lives. There is also evidence that self-harming is affecting children at a younger age than ever before.

There are many misconceptions surrounding why young people self-harm. The reality is that:

  • Self-harm is not a mental illness, nor is it an attempt to take your own life
  • It doesn’t just affect girls. Boys self-harm too, but they are much less likely to tell anyone about it.
  • We know that young people from all walks of life self-harm, regardless of their social or ethnic background.
  • Self-harm is not a fashion fad, nor is it merely ‘attention seeking behaviour’.
  • Most importantly, it is not easy for a young person to stop self-harming behaviour.

If you are experiencing issues with Self Harm or are worried about a family member or friend there is someone there to help you:

  • Samaritans: 08457909090
  • ChildLine:0800 1111
  • Mental Health Matters: 0800 107 0160 (over 18)

or there is online help available through these websites:

Supporting Independence Consultation

Mental Health Promoting Independence Consultation Add to Your Support

Kent County Council (KCC) wants to hear people’s views on the proposed Mental Health Promoting Independence Service. Kent County Council want to ensure that the proposed model meets the needs of Kent residents and will be accessible to all who need support. Kent County Council is proposing to integrate two existing services into a single service when the existing contracts expire in October 2017.

The Housing Related Support and Supporting Independence Service both work to enable people with mental health issues to live independent lives in the community. The proposal is to join up these services to allow for more flexible support, a more person focused system which is easier to access and promotes independence.

Kent County Council are particularly keen to hear from people who use services, their families, professionals and Providers.

To find out more and to have your say go to: www.kent.gov.uk/mentalhealthconsultation. The consultation closes on 24 March.