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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.



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:

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:

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.

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.

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

National-Sleep-Awareness-Week 2015

Sleep Awareness Week Add to Your Support

Sleep Awareness Week is running from  2 – 8 March 2015 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.

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 (1)

Self Injury Awareness Day 1 March Add to Your Support

Its National Self Injury Awareness Day on the 1 March and Live It Well wants to highlight the support and information that is out there if you are experiencing problems or are worried about a family member or a friend.

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.

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:

There is also free NHS Talking Therapy and Counselling services for people in Kent and Medway, you can refer yourself into them and don’t have to see your GP.  Go to our NHS Therapy and Counselling page to find the listing for your local area.

The Big Lunch 2015

Get Ready for the Big Lunch 2015 Add to Your Support

The Big Lunch 2015 is being held on Sunday June 7. Even though it seems like a long long way away its never too late to get prepared for holding a Big Lunch this summer! The Big Lunch is a chance to get together with your neighbours in the garden, in the street in a simple act of community, friendship and fun. The Big Lunch can be anything from a few neighbours getting together in the garden or on the street, to a full blown street party with food, music and decoration that quite literally stops the traffic.

Why have a Big Lunch?

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

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

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

To register for the Big Lunch 2015 follow the link.

Need some ideas and inspiration of how to get started or some free resources? go to:


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

Red Nose Day 2015

Red Nose Day 2015 Add to Your Support

Red Nose Day is back on Friday 13th March 2015 so its time to plan out what you are going to help to fundraise and to be ‘funny for money’!

The Red Nose Day website is packed full of ideas for fundraising for Red Nose Day 2015.  These include:

  1. Face paint: Get everyone at work to pay a donation to come in with their face painted.
  2. Get made-up: Get your kids, family or friends to do your make up, and get people to sponsor you.
  3. Hold a bake sale: Everyone loves cake and
  4. Daft disguise: Ask everyone at work to pay a fee to wear a disguise for the day or go the whole hog in full dress up.
  5. Hair-raising: Raise money by getting sponsored to colour your hair red, create a monobrow or dye your beard.
  6. Sponsored silence: Get sponsored to zip it for the day. A quiet fundraising classic.
  7. Extreme makeup: Get friends to sponsor you to wander around (as if nothing’s wrong) wearing dodgy makeup.
  8. Bigwig in a wig: Ask the ‘bigwigs’ at work to wear a funny wig for the day. Staff pay to vote for who looks the most ridiculous.
  9. Makeover day: Make someone else’s face funny for money by offering Red Nose Day makeovers for a donation.
  10. Danceathon: Organise a sponsored danceathon with friends or colleagues. For inspirational dance move tips go to rednoseday.com/danceathon

Theres lots of other great ideas and reasons why you should Get Funny for Money on Red Nose Day, March 13. The Red Nose Day website has:

  • Fundraising essentials: Get your free fundraising kit packed full of ideas, posters, sponsorship form and lots more.
  • Schools’ fundraising essentials: Get your free school or nursery fundraising pack and order Red Noses to sell at school with our special deposit offer.
  • Red Nose Day goodies: Get your Red Noses, T-shirts and everything else you need to show your support for Red Nose Day.

To find out more go to : www.rednoseday.com

Or to order your fundraising kit or resources go to: www.rednoseday.com/order-stuff

NHS Talking Therapy Live It Well

Free NHS Talking Therapy 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.   


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