Staying mentally well

Good mental health and wellbeing is essential to living happy and healthy lives. It can help us sleep better, feel better and have more positive relationships.

There are simple steps we can take to future proof our mental health and it is important to reflect on our lives from time to time, as prevention is often better than cure.

The suggestions below also link to the ‘wheel of wellbeing’ mentioned under work/life balance’. There you will also find other related sections such as keeping active, loneliness/connecting with others and keep learning.

The NHS’ 5 steps to mental wellbeing can improve your mental health and wellbeing. Trying these things could help you feel more positive and able to get the most out of life.

Every Mind Matters provides mental wellbeing tips, advice and support to help boost your mental wellbeing. You’ll also find a quick mind plan quiz to get personalised suggestions.

Take notice/mindfulness

Mindful living is about savouring the moment, whether you are walking along the street alone, talking to friends or at home with your family. It means being aware of the world around you, remarking on the unusual and catching sight of the beautiful, noticing the changing seasons and generally living in the moment.  

Mindfulness involves learning to pay attention to what is happening in the here and now. It can be helpful because it can interrupt the habit of getting lost in thoughts, mostly about the future or past. It can also help to reduce stress and anger while improving empathy and self-compassion.

According to The Mindfulness Initiative, 60% of long-term work absence is caused by mental ill health. To enhance staff wellbeing and reduce stress, we need to reduce the underlying workplace drivers that cause stress in the first place and equip individuals with skills to manage their own resilience.

Mindfulness approaches are one proven way to help individuals build wellbeing and manage stress. They introduce people to a model of how their own patterns of thinking and responding can be used to maximise resilience and reduce workplace stress, and train individuals to use mindfulness techniques to build effective patterns of thought and behaviour.

National support

The NHS provides some general information about mindfulness.

NHS access to Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) is available for the treatment of recurrent depression through the NHS, so if you have suffered from three or more episodes of depression you may be able to access formal mindfulness training through the NHS. You can arrange to speak to your GP, you can also search via the online NHS service finder.

Every Mind Matters has created a mindful breathing exercise. 

Oxford Mindfulness Foundation offers free online sessions, podcasts, free guided practice sessions, resources and free audio practices, as well as a selection of paid-for courses, including ‘train to teach’.

Mind provides information on mindfulness, how to practise it and how it can help with mental health problems. 

The Free Mindfulness Project provides easy and free access to mindfulness meditation exercises. The focus is mindfulness as practiced in mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) and other closely related approaches. 

The Mindful Directory provides listings of mindfulness retreats, workshops and courses. Although useful, private training can be costly. There are also lots of resources available for free or minimal cost.

Digital resources can be found here

Mindfulness tools, created in partnership with CALM, includes five sessions covering easing holiday stress, combating loneliness, navigating hectic days, and dealing with negativity and uncertainty.

Resources for employers

The Mindfulness Initiative has created a resource for those developing a business case for mindfulness training within their own organisation. It provides an updated summary of the research evidence, narrative rationales addressing different organisational needs, case studies and a range of toolkits to help with programme planning, implementation and evaluation.

The Mindfulness Initiative has also created free resources intended to support employers with implementing mindfulness within their workplace, whatever stage they are on in their implementation journey. 

Breathworks is a leading provider of sustainable mindfulness training courses in the workplace, with a focus on healthcare settings.

Local support

Medway Adult Education offers health and wellbeing courses, including yoga, tai chi, mindfulness and meditation provided in the Rochester Centre. Most courses have a fee.

Kent Adult Education provides courses related to mindfulness for a fee.

Search Mind for local mindfulness courses.

South Kent Mind, which serves Deal, Dover, Folkestone, Hythe, Romney Marsh and Sandwich, runs regular courses on mindfulness.

North Kent Mind, which covers Dartford, Gravesham, Swanley and Medway, offers mindfulness groups and courses.

East Kent Mind provides a selection of guided meditations to do at home.

Free Meditation and Yoga Kent offers free online sessions.