As lockdown eases, people feeling the effects of ongoing anxieties, isolation and fears for the future, are reminded that they can access a range of mental wellbeing support services across Kent and Medway.
It’s not uncommon to feel worried or stressed about the ‘return to normal’ or even the ‘new normal’. For some there will still be feelings of isolation and loneliness while others may be experiencing new issues around employment, financial worries and relationships.
For children and young people, there are other anxieties and concerns such as returning to school, exams, future plans, friendships and relationships.
“It’s been a long lockdown time for many with all sorts of changes created by social distancing measures, uncertainties and anxieties about the future,” explains Kent County Council Director of Public Health Andrew Scott-Clark.
“We’ve all been adjusting to a different way of life, with children off school, many people not working or working from home while balancing child care, as well as not seeing family, friends and colleagues.”
He adds: “And now we’re set to see more changes to lockdown restrictions which could cause further impact on our mental health and wellbeing but there is a huge amount of work underway to help - health partners and providers, local authorities, emergency services and community groups across the county continue to link up, providing a range of local support services.
"At www.kent.gov.uk/wellbeing and www.kent.gov.uk/wellbeingfamilies you can find information, advice and signposting to other trusted sources sites which can help, whatever your situation and need. This is #kenttogether.”
One of the services featured for children and young people at www.kent.gov.uk/wellbeingfamilies is the KCC commissioned Open Access Youth Service.
Senior Youth Worker Roxanne Frost is from Project Salus and explained how one girl, 11-year-old Kay, benefited from online support.
“She joined sessions with her mum to begin with, she appeared very shy and timid but clearly enjoyed joining in on the origami sessions.”
“Over a period of four weeks she began to talk a little more to youth workers and she had even joined in on other sessions we were running. With more encouragement from the youth workers, Kay showed some of the fantastic origami animals she had been creating and even started contributing to the teaching to other young participants. Her mum said Kay is really happy and she has never seen her be so confident.”
This multi-agency website also shows the help available for young people from Headstart Kent, the counselling service Kooth and online community support through the Kent Resilience Hub and The Big White Wall.
If you are worried about your child and need to get help now call 0300 123 4496 to get the right support.
Meanwhile, at www.kent.gov.uk/wellbeing you can find information and links to other community mental health support services like Live Well Kent, a range of NHS services and details on the Release the Pressure helpline and text service.
You can text the word “Kent” or “Medway” to 85258, where you will start a conversation with one of the many trained and experienced volunteers.
If you’re 16 and over, you can call 0800 107 0160 where support is available from trained and experienced staff on this freephone number 24 hours a day 365 days a year.