We find ourselves entering the first steps of a slow and tentative easing of lock-down as we move towards what will be a new way of living and working. The landscape of our country and the way we work and interact will feel very different as we look at the lessons learned during the last three months and how we can adapt our working practices going forward.
While we view this as a unique opportunity to make businesses work better for their staff and to support mental health and wellbeing more effectively, we are also acutely aware that change is hard for many people and that this next phase will need to be managed sensitively.
We at West Kent Mind are working hard to ensure that we are here and 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 fever 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 treated 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 on-line, 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.
While our duty line has remained open throughout the lockdown period, we are looking to extend this service throughout the month of July. West Kent Mind will therefore also be offering a Community Contact service, a telephone support line open to anyone in the West Kent area. The service will enable you to talk to a professional about any concerns you are currently facing. We are here to listen and offer any signposts that might help you. We will be sharing further details of the opening hours and telephone numbers shortly, so please follow us on social media and share with anyone who you think could benefit from this extra support.
As a charity we focus on early intervention- we want to help people take steps to manage the early signs of mental ill-health in order that we can avoid things escalating. This is more crucial now than ever. If you need support and a listening ear, then please reach out to a friend, family member, West Kent Mind or one of the amazing resources detailed here: westkentmind.org.uk/community-development/useful-resources
Stay safe and be kind to yourself.