A special event is being held on World Mental Health Day (10 October), showcasing the services available in Kent to support people of all ages with mental health issues and promote wellbeing.
As part of the international event on Friday, Kent County Council (KCC) has invited partner agencies and service users to see the therapies and treatments available, while also celebrating the success so far of its Wellbeing Programme.
Among the initiatives being unveiled is a new first aid training programme to support people with mental health problems. Funded by KCC Public Health and delivered by mental health charity Sevenoaks Area Mind, the awareness and education training courses – titled Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) – got underway on 1 October as part of a recognised programme which is currently being delivered in 23 countries around the world.
KCC Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, Graham Gibbens, said: “This is the mental health equivalent of physical First Aid and once trained, people can learn how to spot the signs and symptoms of a wide spectrum of common mental health conditions. Treating mental health problems can produce big savings, such as less people on welfare benefits and fewer people presenting with physical illnesses made worse by mental illness. The first aid training is just one of many interventions available and, with support from KCC, we are pleased to be able to showcase the work underway in the community to spread the mental wellbeing message.”
The World Health Organisation’s Global Burden of Disease study has shown that in rich countries, 40 per cent of all disease is mental illness. This gives rise to nearly half of all sickness days off work and is expensive to the taxpayer as nearly half of all the people off work on employment support allowances have a mental health problem.
The Mental Wellbeing event is planned for 10am to 2pm in the Stone Hall at Sessions House in Maidstone. It will publicise free, evidenced-based primary care talking therapies services, available either through self-referral or via primary care, to help people recover from common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and can help people in work manage their mental health better and stay working. Further information on free talking therapies is available on the Live It Well website www.liveitwell.org.uk
Initiatives already underway include the Kent Sheds scheme which provides a place for individuals to come together, share and learn new skills, and support one another to participate in practical group activities such as engineering projects, woodworking or gardening. Funding is available for groups and organisations who would like to establish a ‘Shed’, to purchase materials and equipment, promote the project and support running costs.
Other KCC schemes being highlighted at the event include:
- Programmes for young people, such as House, and the Headstart Kent pilot operating in three areas.
- Six Ways to Wellbeing programme which promotes support and services to improve mental health wellbeing.
- KCC libraries wellbeing zones and workplace health.
To find out more about the fully funded MHFA training, or book onto an MHFA course, visit http://sevenoaksareamind.org.uk/training/mhfa.
For more information about Kent Sheds, go to www.kentsheds.org.uk
Note to Editors:
Kent County Council became responsible for key areas of Public Health following changes to the Health and Social Care Act in 2013. Its overriding aims are to improve and protect the health of the Kent population, and improve the quality, effectiveness and access to, health and social care services.