Here are some links and advice for staying active, supporting children and young people, looking after your mental health, and other community resources.
Keeping physically well
Mental health and emotional wellbeing
Keeping physically well
There are lots of resources to help you be active and eat a healthy diet; making better choices today can have a big impact on your health. One You Kent is here to help you get healthier and feel better with free tips, tools and support.
Would you like to eat a healthier diet, but are not sure where to start? Eating well is one of the best ways to reach a healthy weight and feel better about life. Check out our exclusive ‘Food Smart’ film series for some great healthy eating ideas, top tips and advice on food labelling, cooking on a budget, snacking well and watching your sugar intake.
Being active is good for your mind and body. Every minute of activity counts and the more you do, the more you'll benefit, physically and mentally. You can be confident that just by putting one foot in front of the other, you’re on your way to being a healthier YOU.
Where do I start?
Try to build activity into your daily life. Start gently and build up gradually with smaller goals to keep you motivated. Try a walk - it will boost your energy, lift your mood and make everyday activities easier. Download the Active 10 app to help you fit in a brisk 10-minute walk into your day.
Get a friend to join you and you will improve your emotional wellbeing at the same time.
Once you start achieving things you will want to do more. Reward yourself for reaching your goal. Think of exercise as time to focus on you and the chance to try something new.
You can also try the Everyday Active website which is great for anyone looking to be more active in Kent. You can explore the different types of activities on offer, use the activity finder or read some inspiring stories or top tips on the blog. You can also create an account to plan weekly activities and monitor your progress.
Want to exercise at home?
For tips and advice on getting active in and around your home, visit Sports England's Join The Movement campaign. They have a range of exercise platforms to help you get or keep fit.
If you are recovering from COVID-19, Moving Medicine have produced a series of handy tips to help you start recovering your strength and fitness. Please consult your GP, a health professional or fitness instructor for advice if you are unsure about exercising with any health conditions you may have and they can advise on what is most suitable for you. You may be eligible to take part in an exercise referral scheme which means you can get a personalised activity programme delivered by qualified instructors.
Lifestyle advisers can also support you via phone or video call to make the small changes that can make a big difference to your physical wellbeing. Complete the referral form or call 0300 123 1220 to speak to a friendly adviser.
Support to stop smoking
Smoking makes the complications from coronavirus infection worse.
Over a million people have quit smoking since the start of the pandemic.
If you've ever considered quitting smoking, a good time is NOW.
You could also download ‘My Quit Route’ a FREE app that supports you at every stage of your quit journey!
Domestic abuse includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse in relationships or between family members. Domestic violence can happen to anyone. You can still get help even during isolation, so if you feel uncomfortable, pressurised, threatened or have been attacked - don't wait, ask for help now.
Visit Domestic Abuse Services for details of local support in Kent and Medway.
Women can call the National Domestic Abuse Helpline (0808 2000 247), and men the Mens' Advice Line (0808 8010327) for free at any time, day or night.
They will offer confidential, non-judgemental information and support.
You can also speak to Kent Police on the non-emergency telephone number 101, but if you are at immediate risk then please call 999.
Mental health and emotional wellbeing
You may be feeling worried or anxious due to the unprecedented challenges we are facing.
You may find your mood and feelings are affected, you may feel low, worried or have problems sleeping. You might feel lonely if you are social distancing or self-isolating.
At times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which, in turn, can make you feel worse.
There are simple things you can do that may help, to stay mentally and physically active during this time such as:
- Look for ideas of exercises you can do at home on the NHS website or see physical activity page.
- Spend time doing things you enjoy when you have time – this might include reading, cooking, other indoor hobbies or listening to or watching favourite radio or TV programmes.
- Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, regularly exercise and try to avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs.
- Keep your windows open to let in fresh air, get some natural sunlight if you can or get outside into the garden.
Further information on looking after your mental health during this time is available below:
- Kent County Council has also put together a range of resources to support you with your mental health.
- Click here to read the advice from Every Mind Matters.
- Advice from Action For Happiness.You can download the "Coping Calendar" from Action for Happiness for more tips and advice.
- Read advice from Mind Charity.
- Calm is offering free online tools and resources.
- If you need someone to talk to because you are struggling with your mental health, Aspirations are providing a telephone service. You can find out more information and how to contact them by clicking here.
- Elefriends is a supportive, online community where you can be yourself. You can access this by clicking here.
- Keep in contact with your neighbours and your community online via social media channels and joining community forums online. You can also do this through the huge variety of Facebook groups available or Nextdoor, which is an online community.
- If you are feeling worried about what impact self-isolation and social distancing may have on your life, there is a Coronavirus financial help and rights guide available by Martin Lewis. This includes advice about sick pay, mortgages, rental help, energy top-ups, cancelled events and more from Martin Lewis at moneysavingexpert.com.
- Live Well Kent is a local online and telephone support service offering guidance and advice about mental and physical health.
Emotional support for young people
For children and young people not going to school, their usual clubs or activities and being away from friends can make them feel angry, stressed or anxious. Many young people are finding this time difficult.
Chat Health is an anonymous and confidential texting system for 11 to 19 year olds. They can text on 07520618850 for advice and support on any health issue, including physical or emotional health concerns, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Children and Young People Counselling Service
The School Health service offer up to six counselling sessions for young people aged 11-19. These sessions can help a young person understand their issues and develop strategies to help them feel better. If a child is under 11, we offer parents six weekly sessions with advice on practical, easy to use strategies to support your child.
If you wish to access this support or find out more please complete our online referral form or call 0300 123 4496.
If you are unsure please call our team and we will be able to help you find the right support.
For more information about support in Kent and Medway for young people’s mental health, please see kentresiliencehub.org.uk.
Online support available in Kent
Kooth is a free online resource for any young person in Kent. Kooth counsellors are available 12 - 10pm every day.
A child or young person can build their own emotional resilience by using the resources at Moodsparks a site built with young people from Kent.
As a parent or adult supporting a child or young person you will find lots of really useful resources at kentresiliencehub.
You will find a wider range of information to help you and your family though the current challenges in our FAQs for parents at or if you are a young person have a look at Kent Youth Health.
Dealing with bereavement
During these unprecedented times, some of us are facing a tragic loss of life, often under very difficult circumstances.
Cruse bereavement Centre has released guidance and advice for you and your loved ones who may experience loss including a free helpline and online advice.
The School Health Service provides bereavement counselling through their Children & Young People Counselling Service for those aged 4-19 who have sadly lost someone close to them, due to the Coronavirus. Please see kentyouthhealth.nhs.uk for more information.
Support for parents
The school public health and health visiting teams have created FAQs for schools, parents and carers.
These explain the support we can offer at the moment plus round up all the best links for families to check out.
Health Visiting FAQs for parents or carers of under-fives.
School health FAQs for parents or carers of older children and young people.
There are some fantastic websites providing free educational resources for different ages, abilities and interests to keep children entertained. We have rounded up a few to get you started:
- BBC Bitesize has learning and revision tools for children in primary or secondary school, and even those over the age of 16.
- BookTrust has character quizzes, illustration tutorials and interactive games, making story time fun for the whole family.
- The Natural History Museum will help your child become nature savvy without having to leave the house.
- Learn English Kids is a site from the British Council with lots of free online games, songs, stories and activities for children.
- The Science Museum website is packed full of creative games and activities covering a range of curriculum topics (as well as fun).
- Tate Kids gives you access to craft tutorials and children can even submit their artwork to be displayed in the online gallery.
- The Children’s University of Manchester teaches history, art and design, languages, science and ancient Egypt.
- Zoos and aquariums are getting creative and providing entertainment to home-bound people via live streaming - Paignton zoo’s website currently lets you watch their Sulawesi Crested Macaques or their meerkats.
- Going global, Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden are providing home safaris on their Facebook page, while Monterey Bay Aquarium’s website lets you choose from watching jellyfish, sea otters, coral reefs, penguins and sharks!
Kent Together helpline
A 24 hour helpline has been set up to support vulnerable people in Kent who need urgent help, supplies or medication. The helpline – called Kent Together – provides a single, convenient point of contact for anyone in the county who is in urgent need of help during the Coronavirus outbreak. It is also the place to report your concerns about the welfare of someone else.
This is a joint effort led by Kent County Council, borough and local councils, the voluntary and community sector, the NHS, emergency services and other partners to ensure help is at hand for vulnerable people. Contact the Kent Together helpline at www.kent.gov.uk/KentTogether or phone 03000 419292.