A better Medway
Published: Thursday, 10th September 2020

This World Suicide Prevention Day (10 Sept), people are being reminded of the help available in Kent including an easy to use mental health text service.

As part of the Release the Pressure campaign, texts are free on all major mobile networks - by texting the word “Kent” or “Medway” to 85258, you will start a conversation with a trained and experienced volunteer who can give support at any time, wherever you are. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.

The text messaging support service is powered by Mental Health Innovations and funded by the Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) - a collaboration between Kent County Council, Medway Council, Kent and Medway CCG, Kent and Medway Partnership Trust and all the NHS organisations across Kent and Medway.

Our everyday lives have been transformed overnight 

“Anxiety is a natural reaction to COVID-19. We had our everyday lives transformed overnight back in March and as things start to open back up, whether that’s schools, shops, pubs or workplaces, there are still so many uncertainties,” explains Lauretta Kavanagh, Mental Health Programme Director for the NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group.

She adds: “We also know that for many people, non-coronavirus issues are still causing upset and pain. It may be relationship problems, money worries, exam results or grief for a loved one. Since our text messaging service launched in Kent in April we have already supported 750 conversations locally. It's important to know that anyone can reach out for support if they need it. Don’t bottle it up, text KENT of MEDWAY to 85258 for support at any time of the day or night.”

Residents can access help whenever they may need it

James Williams, Director of Public Health at Medway Council, said: “Everyone is having to adapt to new ways of communicating and interacting with family, friends and the wider community.  During these uncertain times we need to think more about the impact these changes are having on our mental health. It is incredibly important for residents to know that help and support is available. The Release the Pressure text service will help people access help whenever they may need it. I would encourage anyone who needs support to text Medway to 85258.”

It's crucial to reach out for support 

Kent County Council’s Director of Public Health, Andrew Scott-Clark said “This year we mark ‘World Suicide Prevention Day’ with a very new and unique set of challenges and issues affecting people’s mental wellbeing – we know that recent changes and restrictions to how we live and work is making many people will be feeling anxious, concerned and isolated. You may also be worried about loved ones or the impact that this will have on your relationship, your job or your financial situation. It’s a crucial time to reach out for support any time day or night - text Kent to 85258 for support.”

Text MEDWAY or KENT to 85258 at any time, if you’re struggling to cope. You can find out more about the Release the Pressure helpline, the new text service and other community mental health support services. 

If you need help, support is available across the county:

  • Safe Havens in Kent and Medway run by Mental Health Matters
    • Medway – based at Age UK, MacKenney Centre, Woodlands Road, Gillingham, ME7 2BX. For general enquiries please contact 07850 901151 / 07808 795036 or email Medway.mhm@nhs.net
    • Canterbury – based at Age UK, The Centre, Castle Row, Canterbury, CT1 2QY. For general enquiries please contact 07876 476703 / 07483 163953 or email Canterbury.mhm@nhs.net
    • Maidstone – based at Mid Kent Mind, 23 College Road, Maidstone, ME15 6YH. For general enquiries please contact them on 07484 061684 / 07483 155058 or email Maidstone.mhm@nhs.net
  • Better Health - Every Mind Matters
  • Mind
  • One You
  • Rethink
  • Samaritans - Call 116123

Find out more

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