With the current prevalence of COVID-19, and the increasing impact that it is having on day-to-day services within the United Kingdom, Maidstone and Mid-Kent Mind have taken the decision to make changes to the way in which our services will operate. As of today, for the foreseeable future, all of our face-to-face services will be suspended. We have done this to ensure that we are able to adhere to government guidelines, and protect our staff, our clients and their families – ensuring that we do our part to prevent the spread of the virus.
We appreciate, however, that this will have a detrimental impact on the mental health of our clients. Self-Isolation is something which can further exacerbate many already-present and underlying mental health difficulties, and so we have made the decision to invest in new digital technologies which will enable us to operate virtually and continue to provide as much support as we can throughout these difficult times.
This page will aim to provide you with as much information as possible on the change in our services – and how you can continue to benefit from the support that we will continue to offer over the coming months.
What if I am a frequent service user?
We are aiming to implement an assortment of support to ensure that we are able to benefit our frequent service users with wellbeing support throughout this difficult period. A large majority of our face-to-face support will take place through a virtual platform known as ZOOM.
If you are unable to use ZOOM, then we will also be offering additional support over the telephone.
We will also be implementing a series of Wellbeing Calls for our frequent service users – ensuring that you are able to still interact with a member of staff over the phone and support in the form of ten minute conversation slots to help you maintain a sense of routine during this period.
For service users who frequently access our Community Groups, there will be NO face-to-face support available for the foreseeable future. Our Gardening, Singing and Walking Groups will be suspended for the foreseeable future. Our Cookery, Arts and Crafts and Social Groups will be facilitated online. Individuals who are unable to access the online service will have the opportunity to receive a Wellbeing Call as an opportunity to still obtain support.
For service users who frequently access the Ashford Wellbeing Cafe, there will be telephone support in place to continue to provide you with support throughout the period our services are changed.
For service users who frequently access the Hope Cafe, there will be a change to the format of this service. During the period, our Hope Cafe will change to a Crisis Avoidance service – meaning we will be unable to offer support to individuals who may be in crisis. Whilst we appreciate that this may have an impact on the reasons why individuals would usually access this support, we want to be able to continue to offer this service remotely – and this provides us with the best opportunity to do so. Support will be available over the telephone.
For service users who are part of a Coping with Life course, these courses will be delivered remotely by our team. You will be provided with details on how to take part in your course remotely, allowing you to continue to keep these courses as a part of your routine.
For young people who are accessing our CBC Courses, such as Managing Me, every effort will be made to deliver these services remotely. We will keep young people’s parents and carers informed of these details to ensure that they can access the support they need.
For young people who benefit from one to one RAPs support, these will continue, and will be made available either digitally or over the phone to continue to provide this support.
For young people who access our Youth Wellbeing Cafe, a digital support group will be setup to continue to provide peer-to-peer support during this period.
For individuals who access our Low Cost Counselling Service, every effort will be made to continue your appointments over the telephone or through a digital platform if you are comfortable to receive treatment in this manner. All costs will also be lowered to £10 per person during this period to ensure that support remains readily accessible given the current financial climate.
For any activity which you need to access digitally, you will be provided with a unique URL code to allow you to access these courses or groups. These will be distributed by our team ahead of your attendance on your chosen course or group. If it is a group which you would normally access – such as Arts & Crafts, Cookery or Social Group, then these will be shared on our Social Media with the specific link to access the group. If in doubt, please keep an eye on our Social Media pages or our website for updates.
What if our Education Body has a course booked with your for our young people?
A large majority of our work with young people is done in schools – and where possible, we want to continue to offer this support for young people in accordance with Government Guidelines. As schools are closing, we will be aiming to continue to provide both our CBC Courses and one-to-one support virtually, wherever possible, if this is something which schools are happy to provide for their young people during closures.
If schools do not wish to provide this support for their young people, then we will, of course, lease with them on an individual basis to find a direction forward.
We aim to continue to provide a consistency-of-service in whatever capacity we can achieve wherever possible – and this will extend to our school work. Please contact your contact within our organisation if you are unsure about future delivery.
What if I am booked to attend a training session with your organisation?
Government Guidance around gatherings of large groups of people will have a serious impact on the way in which we are able to deliver training in the future.
For now, we have been able to develop an online Mental Health Awareness programme – meaning individuals booked on Mental Health Awareness courses will be able to access this training digitally. We will share additional details on this training as soon as we have more information on how this will work.
Normal booking procedures and communications will continue for this training.
Training such as Suicide Prevention and MHFA may be temporarily suspended – as these sessions require more intensive face-to-face interaction to be delivered successfully. We are still exploring additional mediums to deliver as much training as possible during this period of time – so please stay tuned to both our website and our Social Media channels for additional updates as we receive more information.
How can I contact you during this period of time?
We aim to maintain a strong level of communications with our Service Users and clients throughout this period.
Two members of staff will function as dedicated receptionists – with different numbers you can contact during this period of time. Details can be found on our Contact page.
Our email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org inboxes will also still be staffed during our normal opening hours.
If you have any concerns then you can also reach out to our Comms team via Social Media, who will do the best to assist you and provide you with contact details for the relevant member of staff.
Important: This is a fluid and ever-changing situation, and we have aimed to build a robust package of online delivery which will continue to provide people with the most support we can during this difficult and challenging period. We appreciate the importance that our services hold to many individuals – and we appreciate the importance of maintaining a good level of mental health during this period. Please stay tuned to our website and our Social Media channels as we will provide daily updates on the services which you can access, and how you are able to access those services.
Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Although challenging, we are confident that we will get through the coming months by pulling together with our community to continue to ensure that people in need get the best support possible given the circumstances.
The below Blog Portal will be used to provide daily updates on the services which will be available during this period.