Category Archive Coronavirus

FREE Drop-In Virtual Wellbeing Café For Young People In The Maidstone & Mid-Kent Area

Mid-Kent Mind are offering two unique Virtual Wellbeing Café services which young people will be able to access for a little bit of additional support and guidance during this challenging period of time.
 
As a part of this drop-in support, we have developed a Digital Chatroom which will be accessible for young people through the format of a ZOOM room which will be facilitated by Mid-Kent Mind’s Wellbeing Workers.
 
As a part of these sessions, young people will have the opportunity to take part in Quizzes and other online activities, but will also have the opportunity to ask questions to our workers and offload any thoughts and feelings which the current situation may have effected.
 
The two sessions take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4pm – 5pm, with 8-12 year olds able to access the Tuesday sessions, and 13-17 year olds able to access the Thursday sessions.
 
Full details can be found here on the Mid Kent Mind website.

Mid-Kent Mind Suicide Prevention & Awareness

New Dates for Mid-Kent Mind’s Suicide Prevention & Awareness training are now available – funded generously by Kent County Council, Medway Council and Transforming Health and Social Care in Kent and Medway.
 
This 2 1/2 hour, interactive session will help people understand the mental health drivers that can cause suicidal thoughts and to recognise the signs that someone may be feeling suicidal early on.
 
The course also provides people the confidence to support other vulnerable people and reduce the risk of a suicide attempt being made.
 
We also provide information about what other suicide support services are available in Kent and Medway.
 
For full details on how you can access this FREE training, please visit our website

Mental health awareness courses

Mid-Kent Mind are excited to share that, following the success of both our Tier One and Tier Two Mental Health Awareness courses, we have been able to develop a Tier Three training package to offer more in-depth mental health knowledge.

Our new Tier Three MHA sessions complement the existing Tier One and Tier Two sessions – building on some elements to give a much more comprehensive breakdown of certain subject matter.

This is a three hour training session which includes the following:

Self-Harm – Facts and awareness

Recognise signs and understand the causes

Introduce the self-harm cycle

Myth busting and harm minimisation/delay techniques

Eating disorders – Facts and awareness

Recognise signs of Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating, OSFED

Understanding Body Dysmorphia and Muscle Dysmorphia (Bigorexia)

Understand cause and maintenance factors

Introduce the link between Autism and Anorexia Nervosa

Currently, all three Tiers of Mental Health Awareness training are available for free thanks to funding from The National Lottery Community Fund. For full details, please visit our website.

Virtual afternoon tea

On Saturday 25th July, Mid-Kent Motor Neurone Association are holding a virtual afternoon tea for anyone interested including carers, friends and supporters.

If anyone is interested in joining us please phone Sheila 01634 723677  or Annette on 01622 820719 and we will send on the links that are required to join. 

Heart of Kent Hospice- Virtual Living Well Programme

Our Living Well programme offers free, enjoyable activities and therapeutic sessions to enhance comfort, health and happiness among our patients and their loved ones. From arts and craft to exercise and relaxation, these short sessions are constantly reviewed and expanded to give you, your family and carers even more opportunity to live well.

Unfortunately because of coronavirus we are unable to run our full Living Well programme. However we are delighted to be able to bring you some sessions using the online platform, Zoom.  All the sessions can be booked by emailing the Living Well Co-ordinator, Kelly Moore on Kelly.moore@hokh.co.uk or by calling 01622 792200 ext 258.

We have also set up a peer-to-peer support group on Facebook which is open to all our patients and their carers.  This closed group will enable you to connect and support each other.  You can ask our Family Support Team for the details on 01622 792200 ext 260 or email fst@hokh.co.uk, or request to join the group on Facebook using  this link: shorturl.at/ips35

Coronavirus advice for parents

Below is advice from KCC for parents for supporting children. You can download the leflet by clicking download or viewing the images below

KCC Loneliness Survey

It is estimated that loneliness affects over 30,000 older people in Kent, but we know that it is not just an issue for the elderly.  Loneliness is a highly personal experience that can have a significant impact on someone’s physical and mental health.

The current Covid-19 crisis has highlighted loneliness as an experience that anyone can have and raised awareness of this issue across the country. Many people who would not have considered themselves lonely have felt so as a result of implementing social distancing measures, becoming disconnected from friends, family and their communities.

We are asking people to complete our Loneliness survey to help us understand not only how many people in Kent are or have experienced loneliness, but also what has helped them during this time.
We would like to ask for your help in promoting the survey with any people that you think would be interested in completing it so we can get their feedback.  We would also like to hear from you as well.    
This is an opportunity for people to give their honest, confidential views on their lived experience over the past two months. 

It should take about 10 minutes to complete the survey.  We’ve made it as quick and easy as possible with tick box statements, as well as a number of free text boxes.  

Click on Loneliness Survey to go to the survey as we do want to hear from you and other people in your community.

Our survey will close on Friday, 24 July 2020.

All views and feedback that we receive from the survey will be analysed and reported on in due course.

Together we can address loneliness, helping people to feel connected and valued, by working together as a community.

KCC Residents Choir

We would like to invite you to join our virtual community choir, which runs on a Saturday afternoon from 2.30pm, for around three quarters of an hour. We will try to do several songs each week for which we will send out lyric sheets in advance if you register to attend, so that everyone can sing the same words!

We will be running this via the online video streaming platform ‘Zoom’. Whilst people joining will only be able to hear the person running the choir (to avoid sound delay issues) they will be able to see everyone else who has joined signing along with them.

There are limited places so, please specify how many devices you would be looking to connect up to if more than one, and please ensure that anyone else you know who wishes to join also completes the form. If demand exceeds capacity, we will look at whether we can run additional sessions. Cut off time for signing up via the form for each week’s choir is 5pm on the Thursday afternoon of that week’s choir.

The link and lyrics will be sent the day after (Friday). We’ll assume you want to continue attending each week as per your sign up details unless you tell us otherwise.

Please complete this form and we will send you an email with how to use Zoom and the link to join. For more details contact Chris Wimhurst on 03000 410966 or email christopher.wimhurst@kent.gov.uk

Muslim Women’s Network UK Helpline

In this time of uncertainty and self-isolation, I am writing to let you know that the Muslim Women’s Network UK (MWNUK) is still open and we are currently working from home. Calls are being diverted to mobile phones, also emails and web chat are fully functional. Referrals can still be made to those who seek help and advice. The MWN Helpline is open Monday – Friday 10am – 4pm.
The helpline has a dedicated team of awesome women both paid staff and volunteers from diverse backgrounds, and offer support and advice in English, Urdu, Punjabi, Mirpuri, Putwari, Hindko, Bengali and Zulu. They have undergone extensive training and deliver a professional and compassionate service. We work within the principles of confidentiality and General Data Protection Regulation. Go to https://www.mwnhelpline.co.uk/ for more information.

Healing Voices Virtual Choir

Why not come and join us at Healing Voices? No singing or musical experience is needed and everyone is welcome. There’s no charge – although donations are always welcome.

Our singing groups are continuing virtually, via Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic. To take part, please email Kathryn at healingvoiceskent@gmail.com and make sure you have downloaded the Zoom app. 

Choices Domestic Abuse Service

iCan is a free programme for young boys in need of therapeutic support in Tonbridge and Malling and Maidstone. iCan, was designed for one-to-one work with adolescent boys aged 14-16, affected by domestic abuse through their family or intimate relationships. They may be isolated with a limited support network and are presenting with behaviours linked to trauma such as anxiety, low mood, disengagement, risk taking behaviour or difficulty building relationships.

The programme can help them deal with trauma and help teach them coping strategies as well as appropriate ways of communication. 

iCan is a client-led intervention program which is designed to tackle to needs of the individual, as such topics can range from healthy relationships, drugs, sexual health, alcohol, gang culture and mental health etc.

If you know of anyone who might benefit from this service, please contact Isabella Thorp at isabella.thorp@choicesdaservice.org.uk 

Maidstone MIND boxing lessons

Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind are delighted to share that we have received funding from Kent Sport to deliver free virtual boxing lessons for young people, in conjunction with the team from Olympia Boxing CIC.
 
The sessions are being made available through MMK Mind’s YouTube channel, and will provide young people with a once-weekly lesson between thirty and forty-five minutes in length, for twelve weeks.
 
It is hoped that these sessions will encourage young people to embrace and learn new activities, whilst also underpinning the real values that physical activity can have on our overall mental health and wellbeing. Both organisations would like to continue to develop the programme in the future – further exploring the intrinsic relationship between mental and physical health.
 
For full details on the programme, and how young people can get involved, please visit the following webpage. 

National Careers Service


The National Careers Service is adapting the way it delivers its offering to ensure it can continue to provide an uninterrupted service to thousands of citizens across the South East.

The National Careers Service provides free, professional and impartial advice on getting a new job, changing careers, training, education and the labour market; support which is available to anyone aged 13+ and living in England. Whilst the face-to-face service is currently unavailable, individuals can now access that support using a multitude of alternative channels, including webchat, over the telephone, via video call, and through social media.

Debbie Lloyd, Assistant Director of National Careers Service South East, said; “Whether someone is needing support to find a short-term job, looking for a new career, or looking to build confidence and assess their skills, we have qualified advisers here to support them.

“At this time, there is also a great deal of opportunity to explore online learning. Our advisers are best placed to help individuals identify the right learning opportunity and have access to thousands of courses and training providers.”
Our free service can support individuals to:

Build confidence

Complete a skills assessment

Review/ update their CV

Develop online interview skills

Identify online training opportunities

Get new qualifications

Plan the next steps of their career

The national careers service also provides:

Careers Advice and Guidance  – delivering 121 sessions over the phone, webinars covering subjects such as CV, Interview Skills, Job Search etc.

Redundancy work  – continuing as normal with support provided over the telephone. Also planning a redundancy virtual webinar – details to be released shortly.

Furloughed Workers – working with employees that have been put on furlough. Offering access to a  furlough enrichment programme which could include a 121 careers interview and attending webinars and virtual sessions on resilience, taking the opportunity to refresh a cv, looking at upskilling or professional development with distance learning,  If the furloughed jobs are made redundant to offer redundancy support.

Schools, colleges, universities,  Parents and Carers – reaching out to offer Covid response support for example looking at resources for school leavers, college leavers and graduates. Supporting parents and carers and their children.

Volunteering during Covid response – offering support through distance learning and a careers interview to support their volunteer placement and help the person in their self development.

The National Careers Service is completely free of charge, and accessible to anyone aged 13+ and living in England. Please visit the National Careers Service website or call 0800 100 900, or 01233 600 600 for existing customers.

The National Careers Service have created a number of webinars which cna be accessed below:

Effective Job searching – Lisa Nicolaides  https://youtu.be/ZegP5fCmDPA

Furlough enrichment webinar for employers – Angela Fisher https://youtu.be/v73_8DdjOmo

One You Kent Digital

The One You team in West Kent have been very busy over the last few months, providing befriending and support services to those who have needed it during the lockdown period.

In light of the Covid-19 outbreak, we, like many services have had to change the way we interact with people. We have continued to support those who would like to lose weight, move more, drink less and quit smoking including running a successful trial of an online weight loss group.

Due to this success, following government guidelines, we are re-launching One You as a digital service until we can return to seeing clients face-to-face. This will include online weight loss groups, 1:1 video consultations and much more to help keep clients engaged and on track. To refer into our service, complete the online referral form. If you would like to contact us about anything, please send us an email to westkentoneyou@nhs.net or call 0300 020 0636

Free Online Yoga Taster Session- 10th June

This free, online yoga session is a short introduction to some basic yoga, to prepare you for getting back into ‘normal life’. The skills we will learn include:

Breathing and relaxation techniques

Mobilisation to keep yourself active

Techniques to stretch out tight muscles

If you or anyone you may know would be interested in attending this online taster session, please see the attached poster for more information.

Explore Kent

Explore Kent is striving to help everyone stay active and maintain their connection to the outdoors – both of which will be important to our physical and mental wellbeing during these stressful and uncertain times.

Please visit the Explore Kent website to see their suggestions about staying local for exercise and staying connected with nature.

Crosslight Advice: Free Online Management Course

The Money Course is a simple budgeting course hosted live online, to help you to get on top of your finances. 

The Money Course will help you:

Learn how to create your own budget

Learn some simple tips for getting your budgets to balance

Think through issues of debt and the wise use of credit

Explore some principles around money that could improve your mental well-being

Discover practical tools to manage your money day by day

The course is run as a series of interactive sessions hosted live online. Each session includes space for practical exercises and the opportunity for discussion if you would like it. 
To sign up, please visit Crosslight Advice.

The Life Café @ Fusion Maidstone Healthy Living Centre

Offering support to the vulnerable, elderly and self-isolating members of the community in the Park Wood area, includes delivering cooked meals and food parcels to families whose children are on the free school dinner’s register, to ensure they have enough to eat at this challenging time

Referrals can be made via Fusion Maidstone on 01622 691177, email via enquiries@fusionhlc.org.uk.

Holding On Letting Go

Holding On Letting Go is a Kent-based charity that helps children to cope with the death of someone close to them.

Often the children we see have lost their mum, dad, grandparents, a sibling or a friend. Sometimes more than one person in their family has died or there are sudden and traumatic circumstances surrounding the death, such as suicide, a road accident or murder.

Since the adults around them are also grieving, these children often feel unable to express their feelings or talk about their loved one or their sadness.

Many adults don’t know how to support children through the grieving process, so we give support and guidance to parents and carers too.

Fro more information click here or download the referral form below and send to FREEPOST HOLDING ON LETTING GO or email info@holg.org.uk

Dandelion Time

At Dandelion Time we have maintained telephone contact with all our families we have worked with since September 2019, to assess vulnerability and need. Where necessary we are supporting by phone and signposting to additional support services and liaising with other professionals involved in the family.
 
Other support we are providing includes;

Sending out activity packs to all the children which includes seeds to grow, recipes, craft material etc.

Delivering food parcels to families struggling financially.

Making application for Hardship grants for families where appropriate. We are delighted that a number of families have now benefitted from grants.

Directing families to our virtual Hub on website where there are recipes, craft activities and virtual visits to the animals.

Providing bespoke therapeutic sessions for individual families which involves visiting the garden, woods and animals in outdoor space after careful risk assessment.

We are seeing that some families are coping well but others are struggling particularly where there are parental mental health difficulties and where children are on the autistic spectrum.
  Some of the most vulnerable children who should be in school are not attending due to parental anxiety about covid but also schools not having capacity and prioritising the children of key workers. We are also seeing an increase in domestic abuse. We believe that once lockdown lifts we will start to see the real impact of social isolation on vulnerable families with increased educational disadvantage and emotional trauma.

We want to let everyone know that we are open and accepting referrals.

Dandelion Time has received funding from the Police Commissioner’s fund to support children and families who have been victims of domestic abuse. We are welcoming referrals for families, with past experience of domestic abuse, who are beginning to rebuild their lives. Our aim is to help families recover from their trauma, have the time and space to trust again and to build relationships through our unique, therapeutic programme in the natural environment. to find out more click here for more information.

Coronavirus testing

An overview of the NHS test and trace service, including what happens if you test positive for Coronavirus (COVID-19), or have had close contact with someone who has tested positive. Click here for more information

if you want to know if you are eligible for a test and how to get tested click here.

Stay Alert Stay Safe

Coping with Life courses

Coping with Life courses at Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind will no longer be delivered as face-to-face support groups, due to current government guidance which is available surrounding the current COVID-19 outbreak. This means that timetabled dates and times for Coping with Life courses are subject to change – although we are making every effort to continue to offer this support digitally.

To access a course, you must be registered with Live Well Kent. This can be done by completing an easy online referral form. 

How will this affect me if I am already booked onto one of your Coping with Life courses?

If you are already booked onto one of our Coping with Life courses, then your course will still go ahead. The dates and times of the delivery for this programme may change, however, and the programme will be delivered digitally as opposed to in a face-to-face format. This means that you will be able to access the course from the comfort of your own home – but you will need to have a device with internet connectivity in order to ensure that you can access the course sessions.

You will also need to have our digital conferencing tool – ZOOM – installed, in order to be able to take part in the conference call. You can install this when first attempting to join your session, but if you would like to install the programme ahead of time, you can do so by clicking here, instead. 

What if I want to access services during this period but am not already registered with your service?

We will be continuing to offer New-To-Mind appointments during this period, but they will take place via the telephone or through a digital medium like ZOOM. In order to get in touch and book a New-To-Mind appointment, you can do so by calling one of the two main contact numbers found on this webpage, or by e-mailing mindhelp@mmkmind.org.uk

Remote Access To Community Activity Groups

Due to the closure of their buidling Maidstone Mind will be conducting their activity groups online via zoom.

Weekly sessions will change to accommodate sessions which we are able to deliver remotely. Gardening, Singing and Walking groups will be suspended. This means that there will be no community support groups on Monday or Friday, with Wellbeing Calls being offered instead. These ten minute phone calls will provide you with an opportunity to check in with a Wellbeing Worker and have a conversation – something which we feel is crucial in tackling the isolation and loneliness which can become prevalent at times like this.

Please see the website here for more information

Virtual Peer Support Group

Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind (MMKM) have been commissioned by Live Well Kent to run a monthly group that gets people into a virtual room to share experiences around their mental health, and to support each other with coping strategies that may have worked. It also provides opportunity to share insight into services which may have been good, poor or indifferent.

This service is  seen as a “Step On” from the regular Community Groups offered by MMKM, where the emphasis is on wellbeing maintenance and will be looking at people that want to have a more serious conversation with their peers.

This group is aimed for people who may be holding down regular life commitments (I.E. Jobs, Education, etc.) but who will benefit from a weekly boost from those around them who understand what they are experiencing. The group may also be beneficial for people in the process of recovering from crisis points or from particularly low episodes, who feel as though additional help from people with similar experiences may be beneficial.

This service is operated as an open forum for people to talk about how their week is going, share with others how they are feeling, and ask others for advice on how they may deal with similar feelings.

Because this service is funded by Live Well Kent it is available free of charge. Individuals interested in attending must be registered with Live Well Kent ahead of their attendance.

More details on how to register to attend this group can be found here.

Digital Maidstone Youth Wellbeing Cafe

Our Wednesday evening Maidstone Youth Wellbeing Cafe will be suspended due to current guidance around the COVID-19 outbreak.

We are working on developing a Digital Chatroom which will be accessible for young people during this period, providing them with access to a moderated safe space where they can seek peer support.

As of June, or Youth Wellbeing Cafe will take the format of a ZOOM room where young people can take part in a Quiz and other online activities facilitated by our Wellbeing Workers. Click here for more information.

At a loss

GriefChat was created by bereavement experts. By visiting the At a Loss website, you can chat live to a specially trained bereavement counsellor. GriefChat is a completely free service and is available Monday-Friday, 9am-9pm.
See the At a Loss website for more information. 

Bounce back

MMK Mind are offering FREE spaces on our Virtual emotional resilience course, Bounce Back, thanks to generous funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.

Bounce Back is a 6 week, youth emotional resilience course for ages 11-18.

The course teaches young people how they can combat stress, deal with emotions and reduce anxiety so they can ‘bounce back’ from the challenges they face in life.

The course includes:

An introduction to emotional resilience, get to know you games and activities

Identifying support networks and understanding the importance of having a support network

Understanding anxiety and how it can impact on you

Understanding stress and how to tackle it

The impact of relaxation on wellbeing & de-stress techniques

Understanding decision making and how to make emotionally intelligent decisions

For more details, you can e-mail janesampson@mmkmind.org.uk.

Alternatively, you can visit this webpage: https://www.maidstonemind.org/virtual-bounce-back-courses/

Youth Recovery Action Plans

MMK Mind have more spaces available for free one-to-one support which young people may benefit from. These sessions begin on the 3rd of June – and will be available without charge thanks to funding from The National Lottery Community Fund.
 
Youth Recovery Action Plans are designed to offer 1 To 1 Youth Support to young people who may benefit more from individual support instead of group-based activities.
 
The Recovery Action Plan (RAP) has been designed to allow individuals to take a holistic look at their life and identify areas where they can act to help their wellbeing.
 
RAPS are tailored specifically for people who may benefit from support in a more one-to-one environment. With the support of a Wellbeing Worker, young people can set realistic, timely goals in areas of need.
 
For more details, and to book a space for your young person, please visit https://www.maidstonemind.org/digital-youth-recovery-action-plans/.

We are with you

We Are Here With You can support young people and families during the lockdown and beyond

Parent Partnership Programme

Parents and families Our Parent Partnership Programme has never been busier and we are supporting lots of families across Kent during this concerning time. Families can call for ‘drop in’ style support or refer for scheduled sessions on 01795 500881 We Are With You also have a webchat where YP or families can get help and advice online support instantly if they are worried about their own or someone else’s drinking or drug use or their mental health. This can be found at https://www.wearewithyou.org.uk/

Lockdown Projects

The Kent We Are With You team have collaborated with the UK harm reduction group ‘Drugs and me’ https://www.drugsand.me/en/ to produce this guide to withdrawal. This was made bearing in mind the

potential for involuntary withdrawal during the pandemic and has information which could be applicable for adolescents and adults so please read and distribute as appropriate. A guide found here.

COVID-19 Podcast

Covid-19 Mini-Podcast This podcast is approx 7 mins in length and we made it for adolescents and young adults who use substances and alcohol. It offers reflections on some of the harm reduction measures that must be taken to avoid the spread of the virus as well as practical elements of how drug and alcohol use is affected by lockdown. It has been shared widely nationally – Listen here

10 Tips for Looking after your Mental Health during Covid-19 from MMK Mind

In honour of Mental Health Awareness week (18-24 May) Maidstone and Mid Kent mind have put together 10 tips for looking after your Mental Health during Covid-19: 

  1. Take the time to appreciate outdoor spaces if you can
  2. Remember the benefits that home exercising can have
  3. Keep in touch with friends and family
  4. Look after your physical health
  5. Make sure to take time to relax
  6. Make sure you are getting enough sleep
  7. Try new activities to keep yourself occupied
  8. Try to reduce your exposure to triggering content
  9. Set an alarm for a sense of routine
  10. Think about the things that make you feel good

For more information about Mental health, what mental health problems are, what may cause them, and the many different kinds of help, treatment and support that are available, please visit the Mind website which also provides guidance on where to find more information, and tips for friends and family.