Live Well Kent, a new community mental health and wellbeing service, was officially launched at Canterbury Christ Church University today.
Cllr Graham Gibbens, Kent County Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, delivered a keynote address to launch Live Well Kent.
He was followed by Emma Hanson, the Head of Adult Community Support and Strategic Commissioning at Kent County Council, who set out the details of how the authority designed the service and what support is available.
In February, Shaw Trust, a national disability, employment, learning and skills charity, confirmed it had won a bid to be the strategic partner for two of the four contract areas delivering the new Live Well Kent contract.
The service was commissioned jointly by Kent County Council (KCC) and the seven clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for Kent (Excludes Medway).
Shaw Trust covers three CCGs: West Kent, Ashford, and Canterbury and Coastal. Porchlight delivers the contracts for the other contract areas.
Live Well Kent aims to promote people's recovery from mental health challenges and their inclusion in day-to-day life. There is also targeted support to help individuals enjoy a better quality of life, gain greater independence and achieve economic wellbeing.
Service users accessing this support will find it is designed to complement existing NHS mental health provision in Kent. Shaw Trust offers additional services, including housing support, employment advice, arts and fitness activities, and personal development courses. Individuals will be assessed to determine which activities and support will help improve their wellbeing.
The launch of Live Well Kent also coincides with national Mental Health Awareness Week. This year's theme during the week is relationships.
Good relationships are one of the most important ways to maintain our mental health and wellbeing. Shaw Trust supports Mental Health Awareness Week and works to break down barriers on wellbeing issues.
Roy O'Shaughnessy, Chief Executive of Shaw Trust, said:
"Live Well Kent is targeting community services where they are needed to achieve better outcomes and address mental health and wellbeing needs across the county. By combining our knowledge of health, employment and skills, we are going to tackle social exclusion, isolation and help more individuals to feel part of their local community. Mental Health Awareness Week brings an important focus on the need to help more people overcome the mental health challenges holding them back from living a more independent life."
Graham Gibbens, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said:
"We already know that approximately one in four people will have a common mental illness during their lifetime and this can affect every element of their lives. By bringing together the different services and resources that exist locally, and by making this information readily accessible, Live Well Kent should enable more people with mental health issues to have the very best support as early as possible and will ultimately enable them to lead a better life. We are committed to enabling people who experience mental health issues to be supported in their communities and on their recovery journey, to achieve the outcomes that are important to them."
For more information about the support services in Kent, visit Shaw Trust's Mental Health and Wellbeing web pages (opens in new tab or window).
If you would like to support Mental Health Awareness Week, you can find more information at mentalhealth.org.uk (opens in new tab or window).
More information on Live Well Kent can also be found at livewellkent.org.uk (opens in new tab or window).