Health leaders across Kent are reminding residents of the mental wellbeing support available as Covid-19 continues to cause restrictions and impact people’s lives.
This World Mental Health Day (10th Oct), information is available at www.kent.gov.uk/wellbeing for people experiencing a range of mental health issues. There is also a specific site to help families with children or young people who might be experiencing difficulties at www.kent.gov.uk/wellbeingfamilies
Both sites were created earlier this year by health, public sector, charity and voluntary organisations across Kent and Medway to signpost residents to information and help during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Adult Social Care, Clair Bell said: “This year continues to be incredibly challenging, with restrictions and the ongoing impact of Covid-19 creating uncertainty and anxiety as we adjust to a different way of life – working from home, disruption to children’s schooling, as well as not seeing family, friends and colleagues.
“This anxiety is natural, and many people are experiencing it. Fortunately, there are things that we can do to protect our mental health and to support the wellbeing of our friends and family. At www.kent.gov.uk/wellbeing you can find information, advice and signposting to other great sites which can help, whatever your situation and need.”
As part of the Release the Pressure campaign, a text service is also available to people who are struggling to cope and need immediate help. – by texting the word “Kent” or “Medway” to 85258, you will start a conversation with one of the many trained and experienced volunteers who can give help at any time, wherever you are. Texts are free on all major mobile networks and the service is provided by SHOUT and the Crisis Text Line.
The service will run in addition to the current 24/7 freephone helpline and is funded by the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) which is a collaboration between Kent County Council, Medway Council, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust and all the NHS organisations across Kent and Medway.
Dr Jihad Malasi, a Kent GP and clinical lead for mental health at NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It’s OK not to feel OK, so if you feel you need support with your mental wellbeing, just reach out.
“There’s help available online and by phone, and you can self-refer to talking therapy services across Kent and Medway. All this can be accessed for free, without having to see a GP first. However, should you need to contact a GP, they are available to you.”
One of the tools available at www.kent.gov.uk/wellbeing is the Every Mind Matters online resource which helps people to take simple steps to look after their mental health, improve their mental wellbeing and support others too.