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'It's not just anxiety'

Published: 15/05/2023
Mental Health Awareness Week

Big life events such as a new job or becoming a parent can make us anxious – but when frequent intense anxiety impacts daily life it’s time to seek support.

With anxiety disorders and money worries rising, Kent and Medway’s councils, health services and voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations are joining together this Mental Health Awareness Week (15 to 21 May 2023) to remind residents of the local help on hand, alongside advice for being kind to our minds.

NHS Kent and Medway is distributing to schools, libraries, GP practices and pharmacies a range of pocket-sized information cards to signpost people of all ages to mental health support in Kent and Medway.

Dr Kate Langford, NHS Kent and Medway Medical Director, said: “There are many small things that we can all do on daily basis – being more active, enjoying the outdoors – to help our ability to deal with anxiety and stress and be kind to our minds.

“Information about services and support is available online on our Kent and Medway Mental Wellbeing Information Hub but we found that people really like something that’s printed that they can keep handy in their purse or wallet.

“The new range of z-cards includes one for children and young people, one for adults and a larger-sized booklet about services for people living with memory loss.

Kent County Council (KCC) Director of Public Health, Dr Anjan Ghosh, said: “Exams, getting married or divorced, becoming a carer, experiencing memory loss or money worries …we all get anxious to varying degrees sometimes.

“But when feelings of anxiety become overwhelming, it’s not helpful to think of it as ‘just’ worry or stress and ignore it in the hope it will go away. Fortunately, there are things that we can do to protect our mental health, like moving more.

“And remember you are not alone. Opening up about what is happening to you to someone you trust can be a crucial first step in getting back in control. Just pick up the phone, or go online, to find local support, or link in with one of the fantastic community groups that exist across the county.”

James Williams, Medway Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Now more than ever it is vital to take the time to be aware of and look after our mental health.

“It is important for people to know they are not alone and there is support on offer if it is needed.

“There are amazing resources available, including the Five Ways to Wellbeing initiative, which can help people transform their wellbeing by incorporating small changes to their routines.”

Live Well Kent and Medway's Julia Hargreaves said: “It can be difficult to know where to turn when you feel anxious and overwhelmed, but Live Well Kent & Medway is here so people do not have to do this alone.

“We know that the rising cost of living is affecting many people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. That’s why finding solutions for problems such as financial insecurity, debt, difficulties with benefits or worries about housing is so important, as well as providing support that can help you manage feelings of anxiety and worry.

“We’re here to listen, help make sense of the situation, and develop plans to help people better manage their mental health – both now and in the future.”

Support available 

  • Live Well Kent and Medway is a network of local voluntary organisations and charities that can help you better manage your mental health and wellbeing. Providing free mental health guidance for younger people and adults, it is run by charities Shaw Trust and Porchlight, it also offers a range of advice and support including with money and debt.
  • Free expert advice from trained counsellors is also available for every mental health concern, including anxiety, money and debt worries, at any time through Release the Pressure (RTP). Just text the word “Kent” or “Medway” to 85258 or phone 0800 107 0160 for free confidential help.  
  • If you’re suffering with stress, anxiety, low mood and sleep issues, the Better Health Every Mind Matters website also has lots of information to help you stay on top of your mental wellbeing, including a simple five question quiz to get a personalised mental health action plan with tips and advice. You can also find links to free apps that will support you to make the first move in being more active including Couch to 5K that has helped millions of people start running.
  • The Five Ways to Wellbeing initiative promotes five simple things that research has found if done regularly, can improve wellbeing.  
  • The free local healthy lifestyle service One You Kent can also help you set realistic fitness targets and stay motivated.

Article courtesy of Kent County Council, NHS Kent and Medway and Medway Council