Drink sensibly

We often drink alcohol to change our mood. Some people drink to deal with fear or loneliness, but the effect is only temporary.

When the drink wears off, you feel worse because of the way the alcohol has affected your brain and the rest of your body. Drinking is not a good way to manage difficult feelings.

Apart from the damage too much alcohol can do to your body, you would need more and more alcohol each time to feel the same short-term boost. There are healthier ways of coping with tough times.

Occasional light drinking is perfectly healthy and enjoyable for most people.

Stay within the recommended daily alcohol limits:

3 to 4 units a day for men.

2 to 3 units a day for women.

Many people also smoke or use drugs or other substances to change how they feel. But, again, the effects are short-lived. Just like alcohol, the more you use, the more you crave. Nicotine and drugs don’t deal with the causes of difficult feelings. They don’t solve problems, they create them.

Mental Health Foundation


More advice

More advice on drinking sensibly can obtained from the OneYou Shop in Park Mall, Ashford or

from the OneYou website

Mental health help and support services


Eat well

Your brain needs a mix of nutrients in order to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body. A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.

There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel, for example, caffeine and sugar can have an immediate effect.

But food can also have a long-lasting effect on your mental health. Your brain needs a mix of nutrients to stay healthy and function well, just like the other organs in your body.

A diet that’s good for your physical health is also good for your mental health.

A healthy balanced diet includes:

  • lots of different types of fruit and vegetables
  • wholegrain cereals or bread
  • nuts and seeds
  • dairy products
  • oily fish
  • plenty of water.

Eat at least three meals each day and drink plenty of water. Try to limit how many high-caffeine or sugary drinks you have, and avoid too much alcohol.

Please Note: The advice on this page may not apply if your doctor or dietician have given you specific dietary advice, e.g. if you are a kidney patient or a diabetic.

Mental Health Foundation


More advice

More advice on eating well can obtained from the OneYou Shop in Park Mall, Ashford or
from the OneYou website

You can also get advice at the OneYou shop in Park Mall, Ashford.

Mental health help and support services

Keep active

Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and can help you concentrate, sleep, and look and feel better. Exercise keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy, and is also a significant benefit towards improving your mental health.

Experts believe exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Regular exercise can boost your self-esteem and help you concentrate, sleep, look and feel better.

Exercise also keeps the brain and your other vital organs healthy.

Exercising doesn’t just mean doing sport or going to the gym. Walks in the park, gardening or housework can also keep you active.

Experts say most people should do about 30 minutes’ exercise at least five days a week.

Try to make physical activity that you enjoy a part of your day.

Mental Health Foundation


More advice

More advice on keeping active can obtained from the OneYou Shop in Park Mall, Ashford or
from the OneYou website

Mental health help and support services

Talk about your feelings

Mental Health Awareness Week

Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health problem. This Mental Health Awareness Week, we are going to look at mental health from a new angle. Rather than ask why so many people are living with mental health problems, we will seek to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health.

Mental Health Foundation

Talk about your feelings

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.

Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s part of taking charge of your wellbeing and doing what you can to stay healthy.

Talking can be a way to cope with a problem you’ve been carrying around in your head for a while. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. And it works both ways. If you open up, it might encourage others to do the same.

It’s not always easy to describe how you’re feeling. If you can’t think of one word, use lots. What does it feel like inside your head? What does it make you feel like doing?

You don’t need to sit your loved ones down for a big conversation about your wellbeing. Many people feel more comfortable when these conversations develop naturally – maybe when you’re doing something together.

If it feels awkward at first, give it time. Make talking about your feelings something that you do.


Mental Health Foundation

Mental health help and support services

New school health services

Innovative new school health services underway across Kent

New school health services are being rolled out in Kent which will see greater access for children and young people to support for physical and mental health issues.

Kent County Council has awarded two new contracts – the Primary School Public Health Service and the Adolescent and Targeted Emotional Wellbeing Service – to Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT).

The new contracts for school-age children were drawn up after consultation with people using and working with the services. It will start on 1 April and parents, children, young people and schools will notice a variety of improvements over the next couple of months including:

  • increased opening hours from 8am until 6pm, Monday to Friday
  • easier access with one number, email and online referral to contact the service
  • uniforms to make the school health team more visible
  • increased drop ins at schools, youth clubs and community venues
  • for children and young people, with web chat.


Need urgent help?

Check the helplines listed on our Useful links page

National Domestic Violence Helpline Tel: 0808 2000 247
Women’s Aid www.womensaid.org.uk/information-support/helpline/
provides services to women and children experiencing domestic violence.
Refuge www.refuge.org.uk/get-help-now/
offers a range of services which gives women and children access to professional support whatever their situation.

Samaritans www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/contact-us Tel:116 123. or
visit the local branch www.samaritans.org/branches/samaritans-ashford-and-tenterden
offers confidential and emotional support for those who are experiencing despair.

Saneline www.sane.org.uk/what_we_do/support/  0300 304 7000 from 4:30pm – 10:30pm every evening
offers information and support for those with mental health issues.

Release the Pressure www.kent.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/health/release-the-pressure
Tel: 0800 107 0160
Chat online www.mentalhealthmatters.com/our-services/helpline-services/time-online/
A KCC funded service provided by an independent charity, offers advice and help for those suffering from stress

FRANK www.talktofrank.com/contact-frank Tel: 0300 123 6600,
Need a quick answer? Text a question and FRANK will text you back Text 82111 or
Chat online www.talktofrank.com/livechat 2pm – 6pm every day
helps people with drug problems.

Drinkline Tel: 0300 123 1110
free, confidential helpline for people who are concerned about their drinking, or someone else’s.

Shelter http://england.shelter.org.uk/contact_us Tel: 0808 800 4444
offers housing advice.

Runaway www.runawayhelpline.org.uk/advice/  Tel or Text 116 000,
Chat online using link above, or
email: 116000@runawayhelpline.org.uk
advises young people aged 17 if they are thinking about running away, if they have already run away, or if they have been away and come back and those that are worried that someone else is going to run away or if they are being treated badly or abused.

Childline www.childline.org.uk/get-support/ Tel: 0800 1111,
Chat online: www.childline.org.uk/get-support/1-2-1-counsellor-chat/, or
Email: www.childline.org.uk/locker/inbox/
helps children or young people in distress. Tel: 0800 1111

Silverline www.thesilverline.org.uk/ Tel: 0800 470 8090
provides information, friendship and advice for older folk.

Kent and Medway Case for Change published

Leaders from the NHS in Kent and Medway, along with Kent County Council and Medway Council, have published a compelling ‘case for change’ which sets out why [Health, Social Care and Public Health] Services need to change to meet the needs of local people.

The case for change shows that every day 1,000 people (about 1 in 3 people in hospital at any one time) in Kent and Medway are stuck in hospital beds when they could get the health and social care support they need out of hospital if the right services were available. Doctors and social care leaders say this, along with eight other key challenges, are the drivers for new plans being developed that will see more care provided outside of hospitals and NHS and social care services working in a joined-up way. They are calling for local people to get involved in helping shape these plans for the future of NHS and social care services in Kent and Medway.

Today’s case for change also shows that:

  • We need to focus more on supporting people so they don’t get ill in the first place: Around 1,600 early deaths each year could have been avoided with the right early help and support for example to help people maintain a healthy weight, stop smoking and drink responsibly.
  • GPs and their teams are understaffed, with vacancies and difficulties recruiting: If staffing in Kent and Medway was in line with the national average there would be 245 more GPs and 37 more practice nurses.
  • Services and outcomes for people with long-term conditions are poor: As many as four in 10 emergency hospital admissions could be avoided if the right care was available outside hospital to help people manage conditions they live with every day and to prevent them getting worse.
  • Some services for seriously ill people in Kent and Medway find it hard to run round-the-clock, and to meet expected standards of care:
  • All stroke patients who are medically suitable should get clot-busting drugs within 60 minutes of arriving at hospital. None of the hospitals in our area currently achieve this for all patients.
  • Planned care – such as going into hospital for a hip operation or having an x-ray – is not as efficient as it could be: There is variation across Kent and Medway in how often people are referred to specialists and variation in the tests and treatments people get once they have been referred.
  • Cancer care does not always meet national standards: waiting times for diagnostic tests, to see a specialist and for treatment, are sometimes longer than national standards.
  • People with mental ill health have poor outcomes: people with a serious mental illness die on average 15 to 20 years earlier than the general population
  • Services could be run more productively: Around £190m of savings could be made if services were run as efficiently as top performing areas in England.


KCC improvements to services for disabled

Heathwatch Kent logo

Kent County Council have released new plans for a ‘Lifespan Pathway’, helping individuals transition from Disabled Children Services to Adult Services from April 3rd 2017.

The new services illustrate there will no longer be seperate adult services for Learning Disabilities & Physical Disability. Meaning, individuals with both needs at any age will get the correct and personalised care with less hassle.

This is only one of many changes promoted by the KCC to better the care for service users.

KCC have also released a document to help you understand the changes the new plan will entail. If you would like to know more about the changes, check the document in the link below.


Healthwatch Kent 10 March 2017

Speakup CIC survey on Mental Health services

Feedback on services in Kent and Medway – survey

Speakup CIC

Speakup CIC has released a new survey this week and would like to hear your experiences using mental health services, whether in the past or currently.

This information will be made anonymous and used towards improving local mental health services in the future.

Click this link for the survey:  www.speakupcic.co.uk/survey

Healthwatch Kent 09 March 2017