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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

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.

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:

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.



The Care Act 2015

The Care Act 2015 Add to Your Support

The Care Act 2015 is going to change all care and support in England from April 2015. The Care Act will help to make care and support more consistent across the country and puts the wellbeing of individuals at the heart of health and social care services.

What does the new Care Act aim to achieve?

  • Clearer, fairer care and support
  • Wellbeing – physical, mental and emotional – of both the person needing care and their carer
  • Prevention and delay of the need for care and support
  • People in control of their care
  • A new emphasis on wellbeing

The Care Act is aiming to consolidate good practice and should help to embed and extend personalisation in social care as well as increasing the focus on wellbeing and prevention.

For people who need care and support, and their carers, there will be:

  • better access to information and advice, preventative services, and assessment of need
  • an entitlement to care and support
  • a new model of paying for care, with a cap on the care costs for which an individual is liable
  • a common system across the country (national eligibility threshold)

You can read more about the key changes to the Care Act at the links below:

For all of the other Care Act factsheets follow the link.

World Autism Awareness Day 2014 Kent

World Autism Awareness Day 2015 Add to Your Support

It is World Autism Awareness Day on April 2. 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 find out about services in Kent and Medway follow the links:

International Day of Happiness 2015

International Day of Happiness 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.

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 a Way to Wellbeing. Making small changes could make a big difference to your life and on our web pages you can see what other people in Kent are doing to make them happier and increase their wellbeing.

Find out more at:

Or why not attend one of our free Six Ways to Wellbeing seminars which you can book by following the link.

Get involved on the day on twitter with #happinessday

No Smoking Day 2015

No Smoking Day 11 March 2015 Add to Your Support

It’s no smoking day on 11 March 2015 so why don’t you be ‘Proud to be a Quitter’! Smokers in Kent and Medway are being urged to take the first steps to giving up smoking for good on No Smoking Day. This year’s No Smoking Day theme is ‘Proud to be a Quitter. In life we are told never to give up, to keep going – but when it comes to smoking, being a ‘Quitter’ is a good thing.

So come on, why not take the first steps to becoming smoke free by accessing the free stop smoking services based all over Kent and Medway. See our local advice and information to help you stop smoking in Kent and Medway by following this link:


For more information on no smoking day, including resources and information to running your own No Smoking Day event go to: nosmokingday.org.uk.



No Smoking Day is an annual campaign is run by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and encourages hundreds of thousands of smokers to make a quit attempt on No Smoking Day.

Earth Hour 2015

Earth Hour 2015 – Lights Out Add to Your Support

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. It 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 28th March – this Saturday.

For more information and see how you can get involved go to the WWF website or the Earth Hour website.

Care for the Planet is one of the Six Ways to Wellbeing, to find out how you can be greener and to start go to our Care for the Planet pages.

For more information about Earth Hour see the video below:

Wheel to Wellbeing Seminar

Six Ways to Wellbeing Seminar Add to Your Support

Why not find out how to use the Six Ways to Wellbeing to introduce wellbeing to the people you work with or people in your wider community.  We have a range of resources that might help you including a free half day seminar which will introduce you to the theory behind the Six Ways to Wellbeing and show you some practical ways in which you can apply the Six Ways to Wellbeing and how we can support your work.

We have launched the Six Ways to Wellbeing campaign to improve wellbeing amongst the people of Kent, and we invite you to join in by coming along to a free event and learning what you can do to help. The half day seminar will share with you what the Six Ways to Wellbeing are, as well as giving you the tools you need to spread the Six Ways message to the people you work with and your communities.

Our next Six Ways to Wellbeing seminar is being held on the 8 April in Maidstone. This is the eighth seminar in this series that will help you explore how best to use the Six Ways to Wellbeing in your own work and with the people you connect with and will be a fun and interactive session. To book your place on this seminar go to our Six Ways to Wellbeing Seminar information here.

Live It Well also has a range of free resources and tools that might help you to see what we have available go to our resources page here.



Walking for health

Walking for Health Add to Your Support

Ever feel like it’d be nice to get out and about more often? Get a little more fresh air in your lungs? Be a bit more active? Lots of us wish we did more exercise. We know it’s good for us. And we know our health’s important. But it can be easy to find excuses for not actually getting out there and doing it:

  • The gym is boring / intimidating / expensive.
  • There’s not enough time.
  • My knee / back / hip isn’t up to it these days.
  • It’s no fun.

Sound familiar?

Walking works
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.

Mental Health First Aid Training

Free Mental Health First Aid Training Add to Your Support

Kent County Council has commissioned free Mental Health First Aid training for the people of Kent. Mental Health First Aid training is an internationally recognised training programme, currently being delivered in 23 countries around the world. The aim of these courses is to give everyone the knowledge and confidence to recognise signs of mental health problems, encourage someone to seek the right help, and to reduce the stigma around mental illness

There are three types of free courses available:

To find out more about the fully funded MHFA training, or book onto an MHFA course, visit www.sevenoaksareamind.org.uk/mhfa.  Alternatively call Ruth Brown on 01732 744950.

Please note that if a booking is cancelled at short notice a cancellation fee will be charged.

To find out more about Mental Health First Aid in England go to: mhfaengland.org