As we find ourselves entering the first steps of a slow and tentative easing of lockdown, we are moving towards what will be a new way of living and working.
The way we work, interact and socialise will feel very different as we look at the lessons learned during the last three months and how we can adapt our lives and working practices going forward.
West Kent Mind are acutely aware that change is hard for many people, and the impact on our mental health and wellbeing should not be underestimated.
We are working hard to ensure that we are equipped to support individuals and organisations as we move forward, and are developing new programmes and services to support the most vulnerable members of our community.
We are, however, concerned that much like the NHS seeing fewer A&E admissions, we are also seeing fewer people access our services right now. We are not naive in thinking this is a true representation of how people are feeling, rather that we will see a delayed response resulting in services becoming overwhelmed.
The World Health Organisation said last month that it is now crystal-clear that mental health needs must be viewed as a core element of our response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The magnitude of what is to come is unclear but we are determined to equip ourselves as best we can to support people when they do ask for help.
We have been running workshops and seminars online, connecting with local businesses and residents to understand what the main areas of concern for people are and how we can adapt to best support these needs. Our main message has, and will continue to be, that we are here to offer support and we urge people to reach-out.
While our duty line has remained open throughout the lockdown period, we are delighted to have received funding from Kent Community Foundation to offer an additional free telephone support line throughout the month of July 2020.
The ‘Community Contact Line’ will be operated by qualified counsellors and will open four mornings a week for anyone in the area needing to talk to someone. The contact number is 01732 647 032.
The service offers the opportunity to talk confidentially to a professional listening ear. As well as speaking to a qualified counsellor, you will receive signposts for any additional support that you may need (which may include referrals to West Kent Mind’s Affordable Counselling Service).
West Kent Mind’s website has been updated with a comprehensive list of support services and resources – https://westkentmind.org.uk/community-development/useful-resources