A better Medway

We want every child to feel happy in Medway.

There will be times in their life which challenge their mental wellbeing, including:

  • school
  • friends
  • family situations
  • other relationships.

We’re committed to providing children with social activities that contribute towards positive mental health, along with ensuring support services are both in place and accessible for families when extra help is needed.

Top tips to support children's mental health

  • Have a break from your mobile: It can be easy for a child to spend too much time on their mobile. Making time to have a break from their screen time (particular during mealtimes and before they go to bed) can help them to focus and communicate at home. Looking at their mobile excessively before bed can affect your child’s sleep, which can also affect concentration levels at school.
  • Make time to exercise: Getting out with your child at least once a week can be a great bonding exercise, from going for a run to taking up an exercise class. Getting regular fresh air can really help to improve mood.
  • Bedtime: Having a set bedtime routine during the school week is important to help support a child’s development. Make sure they understand the benefits of going to bed at a set time (feeling re-energized and not feeling tired the next day).
  • Family night: Setting a regular family night once a week is a great way to create togetherness and feel-good experiences. Whether it’s a board game night, quiz or movie night, set a date in the diary and reap the benefits.
  • Relaxing the mind: Mindfulness is a great way to escape from the stresses of the day. There are sessions available for children to help look after their mental health. Visit the App Store or Google Play to download a mindfulness app to your phone.
  • Listen: Make time to check how your child is feeling. Asking them how they are will show them that you care about how they feel and can help them to open up if they’re feeling low.
  • Praise them: A child’s self-esteem can be damaged when they do not feel they’re being recognised for good behavior or school achievements. Giving your child praise can help boost the way they feel.

Opportunities for children

There are a range of activities and initiatives available for children across Medway that can help contribute towards good mental health.

Here’s just some of what’s available to help your child be active and feel happy.

Youth clubs provide lots of indoor and outdoor activities throughout the year for children aged 8 years and over.

There are 7 youth clubs available across Medway.

Find your nearest youth club.

Not drinking enough water can make you feel tired and stressed.

Medway Council has partnered with Refill and local businesses to provide free access to water refill.

Find out where you can refill your water bottle for free.

A Better Medway's Healthy Weight Team run FitFix, a free healthy lifestyle course for young people aged 13 years and over.

During the 10 weeks, their friendly instructors will help you to make better food choices and cook healthier versions of everyday meals, from breakfast to fast food.

Find out more about FitFix.

Youth gyms are aimed at 8 to 16 year olds and cost £12.50 a month.

There's a range of benefits to help introduce children and young people into youth gyms.

Find out more about youth gyms.

Half-term sports camps offer high quality multi-sport coaching for children aged 7 to 12 years.

The camps take place during the school holidays at Medway's sports centres.

The following sports camps are running:

  • Strood Sports Centre: Monday 14 February to Thursday 17 February 2022

  • Medway Park Sports Centre: Tuesday 15 February to Friday 18 February 2022.

Find out more about sports camps in Medway and how you can book a place.

Little Chefs is a fun filled cookery group for families with children aged 2 to 4 years old.

The sessions help introduce young children into cooking through easy-to-make, nutritious recipes.

They also help to improve your knowledge of food, including where it comes from and the health benefits.

Find out more about Little Chefs.

Tri Cookery is a course that helps school children to learn new cookery skills.

This free 6-week course runs during term time across Medway and is suitable for families with children aged 5 to 17 years old.

Find out more about Tri Cookery.

There are a range of face-to-face and virtual book clubs available across Medway to help you begin reading.

Find out more about book clubs in Medway.

Support for children

It’s normal for children to feel anxious or stressed about school, particularly following the difficulties we’ve all faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether it’s exams pressure, issues with friends, bullying or worries about life after school, there’s lots of challenges for children that can impact how they feel.

Below are the support services available for children in Medway.

An online mental health community giving free and confidential advice for young people aged 10 to 25 years old.

They are available from 12pm to 10pm weekdays and 6pm to 10pm at the weekends.

Visit the Kooth website for more details.

If your child is feeling anxious, our Release the Pressure service can help.

Text the word ‘Medway’ to 85258 for confidential, expert support.

Alternatively, phone 0800 107 0160 (open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

Visit the Release the Pressure page to find out more.

YPWS works with children and young people in Medway aged 18 years and under with complex mental health difficulties.

Support is tailored to the needs of the child, the young person and their family.

Visit the Medway Young Persons' Wellbeing Service page for more information.

Support for parents

There is also support available for parents to help with their child's mental health.

The NHS offers a range of dedicated support and resources to help parents look after the mental wellbeing of their children.

They also offer support for young people to care for their own mental health.

Visit Every Mind Matters to find out more.

A Better Medway’s Child Health Team offer training to parents and carers through 3 sessions:

  1. managing emotional health and wellbeing for parents and carers

  2. supporting your children with their mental health and wellbeing

  3. supporting a child or young person who is at risk of self-harm.

For more details on registering for one of these sessions, email childhealth@medway.gov.uk.

Further support

You can find a full list of the services that Medway Council and health partners provide on the children's services page.