A better Medway
Published: Tuesday, 10th October 2023

The Kent and Medway Suicide Prevention Team is marking World Mental Health Day by announcing 11 projects dedicated to preventing suicide, saving lives and reducing self-harm that have secured funding.

Initiatives that give dads safe spaces to talk about parenting, and help children get their life back on track after losing someone close, are among those awarded grants of between £500 and £15,000.

Mental health is a universal human right

Announcing the outcome of 2023/24 round of the Kent and Medway Better Mental Health and Wellbeing Community Fund, Kent County Council (KCC) Deputy Director of Public Health, Dr Ellen Schwartz, said: “The impressive standard of applications is testimony to the incredible work going on to help residents have better mental health. It’s also fitting we celebrate our latest applicants’ success on World Mental Health Day as they are driven by the awareness day’s theme that ‘Mental health is a universal human right’. We know from previous funding rounds that grants in the right hands go a long way and have an inspirational impact for the people the projects are working to support. With COVID-19 and the cost of living still casting shadows over many lives, having hope and sharing hard times is more important than ever before.”

Building resilient communities

NHS Kent and Medway’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Kate Langford, said: “So many factors can affect our mental wellbeing as the wide range of projects receiving funding shows. Smaller projects and initiatives at a grassroot-level can provide people with more specific support according to their situation and helps to build resilient communities.”

You are not alone

Medway Council’s Director of Public Health, James Williams, said: “The voluntary sector plays an important role in promoting and supporting residents’ mental health and we are pleased to support community projects through the Kent and Medway Better Mental Health and Wellbeing Fund. This World Mental Health Day I would encourage everyone to take some time to reflect and prioritise their mental health and wellbeing. Life can bring many challenges and there is a wide range of support for anyone who needs it. It is important to remember that you are not alone.”

As well as DadSpace, which gives fathers safe places in Maidstone, Sevenoaks and soon to be Ashford, to share experiences of parenting, and SLIDE AWAY – based in Wrotham, helping children and young people get back on their feet after bereavement – the full list of successful applications for the 2023/24 Kent and Medway Better Mental Health and Wellbeing Community Fund includes:

  • ABIGAIL’S FOOTSTEPS – a Rochester-located baby loss charity providing support and counselling for bereaved parents and families. It also runs specialist bereavement training for midwives and healthcare professionals
  • MIND SOUTH KENT – working with children and young people to look at how the financial crisis has impacted their own feelings of stress and anxiety within their family and provide the tools to help manage this
  • MIND WEST KENT – providing co-produced support for LGBTQIA young adults, 18-30-years-old, who are experiencing poor mental health and self-harm, or are at risk of self-harming or suicide across the West Kent area, and
  • UNSTOPPABLE GIRLS – working with teenage and young adult females living with ADHD in the Ashford area.

Providing a safe space for dads to talk

Director-Found of DadSpace, Denver King, said: “Receiving the grant is a huge help. These funds will allow us to expand our reach across Kent, opening three new locations in Ashford, Broadstairs and Canterbury. Our vision is to provide a safe space for dads to talk, listen and share their experiences of fatherhood across the country and believe DadSpace should be accessible to all dads and hope to see one in every town or city. Consistency is key, we aim to offer DadSpace meet-ups on a regular basis so dads know they’ve always got a place to go.”

Over the past five years, the Kent and Medway Suicide Prevention Team has supported over 90 organisations focused on preventing suicide through a range of funding. 

The Kent and Medway Better Mental Health and Wellbeing Community Fund was launched last year, with 26 organisations awarded annual grants.

The Suicide Prevention programme is funded by Kent and Medway Integrated Care Board and delivered through the Kent and Medway Suicide Prevention Joint Strategy.

Find out more about World Mental Health Day.

Learn more about the mental health support available across Kent and Medway.  

Visit Kent and Medway Integrated Care System’s Mental Health and Wellbeing website page.

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