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Kent health experts say mental health issues can be healed with love over prescription drugs

Anxiety and depression should be treated without relying on medication, say Kent health experts.

Cllr Andrew Kennedy, public health chair for Kent County Council (KCC), says the lockdowns over the last two years have caused a rise in the number of people struggling with mental health issues.

More people are suffering with their mental health since lockdown. Stock image
More people are suffering with their mental health since lockdown. Stock image

Some of his residents in Malling remain frightened to go out of their houses.

And he believes the council needs to do more within the community to help.

He said more counselling and social interaction can have a positive influence, rather than using prescription drugs ordered from a GP.

Prescription drugs are one of the medical solutions to relieving symptoms, but Cllr Kennedy has warned that some can end up “dependent” on them.

Cllr Kennedy said: “There is a real danger that someone gets a bout of anxiety and depression and ends up on the treadmill where they are given prescription drugs and not giving the holistic support they need."

Cllr Andrew Kennedy
Cllr Andrew Kennedy

It has been suggested to make counselling sessions more readily available to allow people to talk through their issues openly and in confidence, and to expand the level of funding put towards therapy by the NHS.

Socialising with residents within the community has been promoted, such as for coffee meet-ups and social gatherings in village halls.

At a KCC public health debate last month, Cllr Kennedy said: "The majority can be dealt with through care, love, support and encouragement within the local community, rather than medicalising them, which becomes a longer-term problem in terms of integration into community life.”

In addition, the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has encouraged more outdoor walks and to connect with community-run events.

Dr Jihad Malasi, GP and Clinical lead for Mental Health NHS Kent and Medway CCG, said: "As a GP I know that physical and mental health are inextricably linked and we can all do some simple things to help us stay well - going out a walk every day is a good start, as is getting involved in community events.

Dr Jihad Malasi
Dr Jihad Malasi

"However we all hear about people who did not get help soon enough and that can end up in tragedy.

"That is why it is really important to reach out if you feel you can’t cope."

Text the word Kent to 85258 or phone 0800 107 0160 for free confidential support at any time

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