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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.


Disrespect No Body

Disrespect Nobody Add to Your Support

There’s a person attached to every body, respect both.

Healthy relationships are all about respecting each other. You should feel loved, safe and free to be yourself.

Relationships can be confusing and it can be difficult to understand what is and isn’t normal behaviour.

But disrespectful and unacceptable behaviour can come in many forms. It isn’t limited to just physical behaviour; it can also go way beyond that. For example, it’s not OK for someone to try and pressure you into sending a nude pic, or to expect the same things to happen that they’ve seen in a porn film. If someone makes you do something you don’t want to, makes you feel scared, intimidated or tries controlling you, it’s not acceptable and is never OK.

Read up on the different types of abuse, get advice, support at help at the Disrespect Nobody website: www.disrespectnobody.co.uk


Good Mental Health Matters

Good Mental Health Matters Add to Your Support

Good Mental Health Matters is a 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

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.   


Substance Misuse 2017

Have Your Say on the Kent Drug and Alcohol Strategy Add to Your Support

Kent County Council are running a consultation on their draft Kent Drugs and Alcohol Strategy for 2017-2022:  www.kent.gov.uk/drugandalcoholstrategy

This consultation is an opportunity to for the public and partner agencies to tell Kent County Council and Kent Police whether their proposed response to the changing drug and alcohol landscape is appropriate and as effective as it can be.  Comments and suggestions for improvement of the draft strategy are welcomed and these will be considered by decision makers prior the strategy being adopted in 2017.

For more information and to have your say go to: www.kent.gov.uk/drugandalcoholstrategy. The strategy is running until 19 February 2017.

Safer Internet Day 2017

Safer Internet Day 2017 Add to Your Support

Safer Internet Day 2017 will take place on Tuesday 7 February with the theme ‘Be the change: unite for a better internet’.

Safer Internet Day is coordinated in the UK by the UK Safer Internet Centre and sees hundreds of organisations get involved to help promote the safe, responsible and positive use of digital technology for children and young people. The UK Safer Internet Centre provides resources for children, schools and families, and tools for getting involved at www.saferinternetday.org.uk.

Why not join in with Safer Internet Day supporters across the globe, on Tuesday 7 February 2017 to be the change and unite for a better internet!



Get Ready for Time to Talk Day 2017 Add to Your Support

Get ready for Time to Talk Day, the next Time to Talk Day will be on Thursday 2 February 2017. The aim of Time to Talk Day is to get as many people as possible across England talking about mental health. Join in and let’s get the nation talking about mental health to help end the misconceptions and stigma surrounding it. Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year, yet too often people are afraid to talk about their experiences because they fear it will affect their jobs or relationships. That’s not right and it’s why we need your help to break the silence and end the stigma!

By joining together on Time to Talk Day, we can break the silence that often surrounds mental health, and show that talking about this once-taboo issue doesn’t need to be difficult. With tens of thousands of individuals and hundreds of organisations speaking out together at the same time, we can make a huge impact and show that it really is time to talk!

Talking about mental health doesn’t need to be difficult, order your Time to Talk Day pack and resources for everything you need to take part on the day. Packs and information available include:

  • Friends and Family Pack
  • Schools pack
  • Take part at work or
  • Community pack

Even if you cannot hold an event you can get involved in Time to Talk day online by using social media.

For suggestions, ideas and how to order free resources and packs go to: www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday

For downloadable postcards, bunting and posters go to: www.time-to-change.org.uk/timetotalkday-resources

To find out more about the work Time to Change are doing to challenge attitudes about mental health go to: www.time-to-change.org.uk

Free Debt Help and Advice

Free Debt Help and Advice Add to Your Support

We all want the best Christmas possible but sometimes the costs involved mean that you can stretch your finances too far.  If you are experiencing money problems and are worried about what happens when the bills arrive in January maybe it’s time to get some professional debt help and advice. Debt can be a big problem, and it is normal to feel worried and anxious about debt and financial issues. Remember though that NO debt problem no matter how big is unsolvable. When debt builds up so does stress and anxiety levels, so Live It Well have information on free and impartial help and advice that is available to help you get out of debt. There is no need to pay for debt advice.

All of the debt help and advice listed on Live It Well is free to access. if you need help please ask.

You can find your local free debt help by using our search box (at the top of the column on the right) called: Search for Local Support and Help.

Under the Help With What? section choose the Money and Debt box and then under the Where Are you? Section choose the area of Kent or Medway that you live it, then press search. All of the debt help listed on Live It Well is free to access.

There is free debt help and advice out there, please ask for support and take control of your debts in 2017.

Live It Well has a more information on Money and Debt and you can see this by following the link.

JanUary 2017

Do something good for ‘U’ this JanUary Add to Your Support

The JanUary campaign is running from 9 – 15 January 2017 and it is asking the UK to join in a national New Year’s resolution to help improve the nation’s health. Whether it’s cooking more healthily, avoiding snacks, or being a little more physically active, join in and make your healthy New Year’s resolution now!

Most of us can be a little bit healthier. Whether it’s making changes to what we eat, drinking more water, or being a bit more physically active. There are relatively small but manageable and sustainable changes we can all make to improve our long-term health.

It’s something we all need to think about. Not only can we improve our health, and that of our families and friends, we can reduce the demands on our hospitals and health services.

And that’s what JanUary’s about: promoting the ways in which we, government and businesses can improve our health and that of the UK as a whole, and providing the information and resources that can bring about long-term positive change. It’s not about making some major change that you’ll struggle to stick to. It’s about doing something sustainable that’ll help you in the long-term.

The JanUary campaign is asking people to make a national New Year’s resolution to help improve the nation’s health. Whether it’s cooking more healthily, avoiding snacks, or being a little more physically active, join in and make your healthy New Year’s resolution now!

You can look at the JanUary campaign website here: www.jan-u-ary.co.uk

To download your supporters pack, please go to: www.jan-u-ary.co.uk/get-involved/make-resolution






Stay Warm and Well this Winter

Stay Warm and Well this Winter Add to Your Support

It is already feeling like winter is here, so maybe it is time to get ready for winter by preparing your home for when the cold really begins to bite. Cold homes have a significant impact on people’s health. One of the best ways of keeping yourself well during winter is to stay warm.
Keeping warm over the winter months can help prevent colds, flu or more serious health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, pneumonia and depression.

How to stay warm

NHS Choices has some information on how to get ready for the winter key tips include:

  • Keep your home warm. Your main living room should be between around 18-21C (65-70F) and the rest of the house at a minimum of 16C (61F). You can also use a hot-water bottle or electric blanket (but not both at the same time) to keep warm while you’re in bed.
  • Eat well. Food is a vital source of energy, which helps to keep your body warm. Try to make sure that you have hot meals and drinks regularly throughout the day and keep active in the home if you can.
  • Wrap up warm, inside and out. Layer your clothing to stay warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside. If possible, stay inside during a cold period if you have heart or respiratory problems.
  • Stay active. Exercise can keep you warm in the winter, even moderate exercise can bring health benefits. As a minimum try not to still for over an hour.
  • Check on older neighbours or relatives to make sure they’re safe and well. Make sure they’re warm enough, especially at night, and have stocks of food and medicines so they don’t need to go out during very cold weather. If you’re worried about a relative or an elderly neighbour, contact your local council or ring the Age UK helpline on 0800 00 99 66.

If you are over 65 Age UK have published a guide called Winter Wrapped Up which is full of handy hints and tips for preparing as well as dealing with winter click here to see this guide. To see more go to the Age UK website by clicking on the following link: www.ageuk.org.uk

NHS Choices also has a lot of information about staying well and preparing for the winter, click here to go to the NHS Choices winter health information.

Kent FA Football Opportunities

Kent FA Football Opportunities Add to Your Support

The Kent FA have some new opportunities for more people to get involved in football. Football is a great way to build confidence, get fit and meet new people, there are lots of opportunities to get involved these include:

Kent FA Mental Health Football League

The Kent FA are currently looking for teams to enter a new Mental Health football league. This will help to provide players with mental health conditions with more regular localised football competition as opposed to one off events. Why not get involved and rebuild confidence, meet new people and take part in regular structured football activity.

If you haven’t got a team there are also numerous sessions around the County where you can get involved in.

Kent FA want to hear from individuals, organisations or teams that wish to join the league. For further information contact: lauren.cundy@kentfa.com

Walking football

If you are less mobile but still want to be involved in football why not try walking football?  Walking football enables you to rediscover the joy of playing football at an easier pace. Walking Football has incredible social benefits for the casual participant. It is an opportunity to meet new people, to be part of a group, and to rekindle a sense of camaraderie within a team environment. Walking football can build confidence, develop friendships, and encourages social opportunities .

There are walking football sessions available all over Kent for more information go to: www.walkingfootballunited.co.uk/kent. For more information see the poster here.

Disability Football

Kent FA run disability football at the Kent FA disability centre every Tuesday night at Strood Sports Centre – Football pay and play (£3 per session) sessions for all players aged six to adults with any disability, impairment or long term condition. This is on every Tuesday 6.30 – 7.30 pm at Strood Sports Centre

For more information see the poster or email gfcct@priestfield.com or call 01634 350125 website: www.gfcommunitytrust.com or see the poster here.

For more information aout any of these opportunities email: lauren.cundy@kentfa.com

Or go to: www.kentfa.com/players/disability-football


Dry January 2017 Add to Your Support

Why not do the Dry January challenge and give up alcohol for the 31 days in January? Taking part in Dry January gives us time to think about  our realtionship with alcohol and recent reports say that if you abstain for a month you will drink less alcohol afterards. Why take part in Dry january? Well a month off alcohol can make a real difference – just some of the benefits people have experienced are:

  • Weight loss
  • Better sleep
  • More energy
  • Clearer skin
  • Time – no more hangovers to sleep off!
  • The sense of achievement for finishing your month
  • The realisation that you’re actually just as awesome without the alcohol

And think of all the money you’ll save (the average person spends £50,000 on booze in their lifetime!)

It’s a pretty impressive list, but you’re not just doing some good for yourself, you’re part of a movement of millions of people looking to improve the lives of those around them too. You’re helping to create a culture of happiness, confidence and health that achieves far more good than just the break from booze.

Find out more, get involved and sign up at Dry January. You can also find out more on the Dry January Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/DryJanuary.

If having a dry January makes you think you are experiencing problems with alcohol go to our Live It Well Alcohol page to get some hints and tips for getting help.

A lot of people don’t know what units actually mean in terms of what they drink – and therefore don’t know when they’re drinking too much! Why don’t you test how much alcohol you are consuming by using the online ‘Know Your Score’ tool or NHS Choices has an ap that helps you keep track of your alcohol intake as well as a lot of other advice and information: www.nhs.uk/livewell/alcohol/Pages/Alcoholhome.aspx

For more about Dry January follow the link below:


Get walking Britain! 2017 Festival of Winter Walks Add to Your Support

The Festival of Winter Walks has been run by the Ramblers Association for over 25 years, this years festival is running from the 17 December 2016 to Sunday 8 January 2017. The Festival of Winter Walks is an opportunity to get more people walking and exploring Britain’s wintry landscapes. So why don’t you take a walk in a winter wonderland this festive season?

Walking makes you feel happier and healthier, and we think everyone should enjoy the benefits. Which is why the Ramblers Association want to get Britain on its feet. So join a walk, invite your friends and help us get everyone, everywhere to discover the joys of walking.

The Ramblers Association have listings of hundreds of free, group walks to choose from. So whether you want a short stroll to burn off the Christmas dinner or a heartier ramble to kick-start your new year’s resolution, they have got something for you. So get your friends or family together, wrap up warm as the Festival of Winter Walks is open to everyone. There are short fun walks that children will love; leisurely strolls for people new to walking; and longer walks for those that want a good leg-stretch over the Christmas break.

It’s as easy as…

  1. Register to find walks, routes and festival activites near you
  2. Log your walks and invite your friends to get involved
  3. Earn badges and win prizes!

So put on your hat and scarf and join the Ramblers as they head out into the crisp, clear winter to enjoy the season.

For more about the Festival of Winter Walks go to: www.ramblers.org.uk/walkabout

Or to find local health walk go to: www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/walkfinder