Looking after your mental health and wellbeing
We understand that COVID-19 (coronavirus) has created uncertainty and anxiety, the constant news can feel overwhelming.
This anxiety is natural, and we are all feeling it. Fortunately, there are things that we can do to protect our mental health and to support the wellbeing of our friends and family.
Here you'll find suggestions that can help your wellbeing as well as children and young people's wellbeing. There are local activities, inspiration and a handy list of resources and services to get you started.
If you need help now, find out how to access urgent support.
Improve your wellbeing
Mental Health Awareness Week this year has the theme of ‘nature’. As COVID-19 continues to affect mental and physical health, why not try some of the great support services in Kent to help you get out and connect with nature to improve your wellbeing.
- Go to our Every Mind Matters page to take the mind plan quiz. You'll get some useful tips and guides to help look after you and your family.
- Live Well Kent is a community mental health support service to help you with everyday living, to keep active and healthy, and meet people.
- Kent Sheds is an open, friendly place where men can meet, chat and undertake activities such as DIY projects or gardening.
- Get moving with One You Kent - healthy walks, the Active 10 app and links to Everyday Active from Kent Sport including country parks and local activities.
- Kent Community Health has support and resources to help you. It includes advice for staying active, supporting children and young people, looking after your mental health, and other community resources.
Our mental health pages have further information about local mental health support services.
With so much change and uncertainty around at the moment it is understandable that you may be feeling a little worried, low, or stressed. These are normal responses to what is, for many, a difficult situation. However, if you are troubled by constant, repetitive thoughts which lead you to feel anxious or overwhelmed, some extra support might be helpful.
- Try to focus on the present rather than worrying about the future, there are some guided relaxation and mindfulness techniques on the North Kent Mind website.
- Read information on how to manage anxiety on the Every Mind Matters website.
- Listen to the NHS mental wellbeing audio guides to help boost your wellbeing.
- You can refer yourself to a free NHS talking therapies service without seeing your GP.
If you are worried about your child and need to get help now call 0800 011 3474 to get the right support.
Support for your child or young adult
- The Kent Resilience Hub has a variety of information and resources that will help parents and carers support their children and young people’s emotional growth and mental health.
- Guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people's mental health and wellbeing from Public Health England.
- Young Minds is a website for young people, but has a section for supporting your child during the coronavirus pandemic, including if they’re worried, as well as information on what to do if they don’t want to follow the lockdown rules.
- The NSPCC website has guides on working from home with children, dealing with co-parenting and family arguments and tensions, both big and small.
- the Moodspark website is for young people aged 10 to 16 to learn to look after their emotional and mental health
- ThinkNinja is the first mental health app approved by the NHS to support the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children and young people during the coronavirus pandemic, and is now listed in the NHS apps library. It is available for 10 to 18 year olds
- Togetherall is available for 16 to 18 year olds with an online community filled with resources, information and online counselling
- Kooth is for young people 10 to 25 to get advice, information and can also chat to a qualified counsellor
- Kent Youth Health have advice and information for young people dealing with their emotions during this time
- many youth services have been moved online, including opportunities for you to talk to youth workers and friends, as well as lots of new activities for you to try.
It's important to stay active if you can. There are lots of ways you can do this.
- If you haven’t already, you might want to talk with your employer, understand your sick pay and benefits rights.
- Many of Kent’s Citizen’s Advice branches are now offering advice on employment or financial matters over the phone and online. Find your local branch on the Citizen’s Advice website.
- We have information on benefits, financial support and where to go for debt advice.
- If you are a local business or employer, have a look at our COVID 19 business section.
If you feel worried, anxious or low, you might stop doing things you usually enjoy. Focusing on your favourite hobby, relaxing indoors or connecting with others can help with anxious thoughts and feelings.
If you cannot do the things you normally enjoy, think about how you could adapt them, or try something new. There are lots of free tutorials and courses online, and people are coming up with inventive new ways to do things, like hosting online pub quizzes and music concerts.
Find a credible source you can trust and fact-check information you get from newsfeeds, social media or other people, such as:
- this website
- your local district or borough council website
- NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs)
- GOV.UK website
- NHS website.
We recommend you follow these social media accounts:
- Kent County Council - KCC Twitter, KCC Facebook, KCC Instagram and KCC LinkedIn
- Kent Public Protection - Public Protection Twitter and Public Protection Facebook
- Kent Police - Kent Police Facebook and Kent Police Twitter
- Kent Fire and Rescue - Kent Fire and Rescue Facebook and Kent Fire and Rescue Twitter
- Kent Resilience Forum on Twitter
- Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group Facebook
- your local district or borough council's accounts.
As there is a lot of misinformation around, it's really important to get information from trusted places to get the facts.
A new bereavement support service has been established for Kent children and young people, and their parents or carers, who experience complicated grief as a result of Covid-19. This support is currently being offered by video link, phone or in person. To access this support or find out more about the children and young people's counselling service go to the KCHFT website.
- Information about children and bereavement on the NHS website.
- Read about coronavirus grief and trauma on the Cruse website.
- Read how children's understanding of death is different at different stages of development on the Cruse website, or you can call their helpline 0808 808 1677.
Release the Pressure
We have a highly trained and experienced team at Release the Pressure, available 24/7 to provide free, expert support no matter what you are going through.
If you feel you need help now call 0800 107 0160 or text the word “Kent” to 85258.
Other places you can get urgent support
If you feel unable to cope, or keep yourself safe, and cannot wait to see a doctor, it's important to get mental health support straight away.
There are a range of national charities who can provide advice and support during these tough times.
- The Samaritans continue to support thousands of people you can call them on 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Mental health charity MIND have lots of information and tips to help you cope.
- Find information or get support on the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) website.
Domestic abuse support
Support is still here if you or someone you know is experiencing or at risk of domestic violence and abuse, there are local and national support services to help you. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 999.
Wellbeing of vulnerable people
If you are a vulnerable person and need urgent support with day to day life throughout the pandemic such as purchasing groceries, walking your dog and picking up prescriptions you can apply for support from Kent Together.
Share your story with Healthwatch Kent
It's really important we hear how people are coping right now. Healthwatch Kent is an independent organisation that champions the views of patients and social care users across Kent.
Share your feedback about mental health services. Whatever your experiences, challenges or concerns are, we want to hear about them.