Talking about mental health seems to be something that we can find difficult; and the stigma that can be associated with having a mental health condition can make seeking help even harder.
Official statistics suggest that 1 in 4 of us will be affected by a mental health issue in our lifetime; some suggest this is even higher at 1 in 4 people per year - with so many mental health problems going unreported it is difficult to be sure of the exact figures. What is clear is that just as we all have physical health, we all have mental health and this can fluctuate up or down. Most of us wouldn’t have a problem visiting the GP if we felt unwell with a virus, or seeking help at A&E if we broke a bone, yet many people hesitate to seek help if they experience a bout of mental ill health, such as depression or heightened anxiety.
We believe that this is an important issue and that everyone has the right to access compassionate and non-judgemental support to help them maintain good mental health and positive emotional wellbeing.
On this page we have included links to websites that can offer practical help and support to those with a mental health concern and also to those who are trying to offer support to a friend, neighbour or loved one. We have also included some quick suggestions on how to get the most from your GP appointment and what to do if you are in crisis.
Some helpful websites for information, support and self-help advice:
NHS (Self-Help Website) - This website contains downloadable and printable self-help booklets on a variety of different mental health issues www.ntw.nhs.uk/pic/selfhelp
The Recovery Letters – The Recovery Letters is a website containing letters that are written from people recovering from depression, addressed to those currently suffering. The Letters are all written with the intention to try and alleviate some of the pain of depression, to make the loneliness slightly more bearable and above all to give hope that you can recover http://www.therecoveryletters.com
YoungMinds – Young Minds are a charity that focuses on young people’s mental health and emotional wellbeing. The website contains downloadable information leaflets and practical advice that covers a range of mental health issues http://www.youngminds.org.uk
The Solace Cafe - Mental Health Support A space to feel safe in the company of like minded people. Friendly mental health and wellbeing support workers can help you seek advice and guidance. The Solace Cafe is a free service for people experiencing emotional crisis. The Cafe is open Thursdays and Saturdays 5-9pm and is located 3 St Marys Road, Tonbridge, TN9 2LD. Where possible, please contact the Solace Cafe before attending. Call; 01732 356630 or 07436102171. Email; firstname.lastname@example.org Visit; www.westkentmind.orh.uk/solace
As a practice, we would like to support you in getting the right kind of help, so we encourage you to contact the West Kind mind support team before attending on the above numbers.
Coping with life - Support for managing stress, anxiety and depression. Click the following link to gain more information.
Coping with life
When accessing online resources it is important to remember that not everyone in the online community has our best interests at heart. Although most websites regarding mental health aim to be helpful and supportive, there are sites that try to promote self-harm, unhealthy weight loss and suicide. It is important to be careful who you interact with. Please be careful and stay safe.
Local contacts for primary care counselling and secondary care mental health services:
Insight Healthcare – Insight are a local primary care counselling service who accept self-referrals from people in Kent. Once you have contacted them they will arrange a telephone assessment (usually within 2weeks of self-referral) with you and then arrange for you to see a counsellor / therapist in a convenient location for you. If they don’t feel that they are able to help they will direct you back to your GP and advise us of where best for us to refer you 0300 555 5555
South West Kent Primary Care Psychological Therapies Services / Talking Therapies (PCPTS) – PCPTS are similar to Insight Healthcare and will accept self-referrals directly from patients in Kent 0800 2799 500 - opt 3 (Freephone)
Ieso Digital Health – ieso are a self-referral therapy service that provides free online CBT to patients in West Kent. Because the therapy takes place online you will need access to a computer with an internet connection but the service has almost no waiting list time and you can schedule appointments for a time that is convenient for you (including evenings and weekends). You will still be working with a BABCP accredited therapist however everything will happen online instead of face-to-face. You can self-refer to ieso if you are over 18 either by calling 01954 230066 or accessing their website http://iesohealth.com/westkent
Highlands House – Highlands House are where the local secondary care community mental health team are based and they accept GP referrals for adult patients who have more complex mental health needs and who need more specialist care and support i.e. they may require medication. If you have already been referred to them by your GP or other healthcare professional, you can contact a member of the Duty Team on 01892 709211 if you are aged 18-65 or 01892 709200 if you are 65 or older.
Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) – CAMHS are the secondary care mental health team for patients who are aged under 18 years old. They accept referrals from GP’s and other healthcare professionals and their offices are based at Knightrider House in Maidstone 01622 356930
If you are experiencing a mental health crisis or acute episode of mental health it is important to contact your GP (during surgery hours) or the Mental Health Crisis Team if Rowan Tree Surgery is closed. The number for the Maidstone and South West Kent Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team is 01622 725000 and they are who you should contact, in the first instance, if you are in crisis out of GP surgery hours. You could also contact the Out Of Hours service on 111 or attend the local A&E Department at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.
Some other emergency contact numbers are:
Papyrus – Papyrus is a national organisation that works to help prevent young people suicide. They have a website that contains information, advice and signposting information. They also run HOPELineUK which is a free and confidential helpline that you can call if you are a young person (up to age 35) at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide.
Telephone: HOPELineUK - 0800 068 41 41 Mon-Fri 10:00 am to 10:00 pm Weekends 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm http://papyrus-uk.org
Samaritans – Samaritans are a confidential service staffed by trained listeners who will not judge. You can call them to talk about anything that is concerning you – you don’t have to be suicidal. They are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Telephone - 08457 90 90 90 http://www.samaritans.org
Childline – Childline provide support to young people (up to age 19) who have concerns about themselves or their friends. They are trained listeners who do not judge and will not break confidentiality. They are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Telephone - 0800 1111 (Freephone) http://www.childline.org.uk
Additional information for GP appointments
Many GP surgeries have 10-15 minute appointment slots and it can be difficult to get across all of the information that you want regarding your issues in this limited time frame. This can be more difficult if the GP seems rushed or if it is difficult to vocalise what is on your mind.
It is important to remember that the more information your GP has the better able they will be to find the right help and support for you. It might be useful to write down some information to take to your appointment and consider the following:
- How long have you felt like this
- What is the severity of your symptoms / distress? Using a scale of 1-10 can be helpful.
- Are there any triggers that have brought on your current symptoms? I.e. a recent traumatic event or is this a long-term issue
- What is the impact of your symptoms on your life? How are things like sleeping, eating, working and relationships being affected
- It is very important that you tell your GP if you have experienced thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- If you see your GP on a day that you are feeling ‘better,’ it is important to give them a complete picture of what has been distressing you and what you want / need to be different.