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HomeWELLBEINGCome on you REDs!

Come on you REDs!

Winter can be a struggle for many people. In the extreme, this low mood can turn into something more serious. The medical term for this type of depression is Seasonal Affective Disorder or “SAD” and is based on studies of the way that our bodies respond to daylight and how, in turn, our moods are affected.

SAD is a type of depression experienced during particular seasons or times of year and although not confined to winter, people are more aware of it at this time of year. If you have SAD, you will experience depression during some seasons in particular, or because of certain types of weather. It is believed that SAD sufferers are impacted by shorter daylight hours, leading to lethargy and symptoms of depression. For some individuals the symptoms can be sever and impact their day-to-day lives.

While most of us will not suffer to a diagnosable level, there is certainly something to be said for feeling low when the days are short and dark and the weather miserable. (please visit www.mind.org.uk for more information)

This month we are fast-forwarding past the festive season (hard to ignore it with the shops full of decorations already!) and into January. January can be a long, dark month when the aftermath of Christmas has a meaningful impact on the mental health of many of us. The start of a new year can be daunting and the expectations high, with many of us experiencing the January blues.

Getting back into the swing of early mornings, battling through work that has piled up over the holidays or readjusting to the school-run can be a real test of our motivation.

While gyms may be packed with the usual New Year fitness regimes, this is not what works for everybody and the results can be slower than hoped.

Whatever your resolution for 2020, whether fitness related or not, given the causes of SAD, as detailed above, we think it is crucial to get moving and get more light into our lives. The positive impact that just 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week can have on our mental health is widely publicised, with levels of mood-regulating serotonin being increased.

January 2020 marks the fourth year of RED January, a community initiative, providing an opportunity to kick-start the year in a positive way. January is a time of year when many of us are setting new goals, trying to make positive changes in their lives while, on the flip side, potentially also being financially stretched and lacking motivation and opportunities for social connections. With around 90,000 REDers around the country, the movement to get active for better mental health is hugely successful, inspiring people of all ages and fitness levels. RED January, while standing for “Run Every Day”, asks participants to commit to doing something active every day in January – it doesn’t need to be running. Many chose walking, cycling, swimming, gym sessions or even gardening. It doesn’t matter what you chose, so long as you are moving your body and exercising your mind. Find something that works for you.

RED January works in partnership with Mind to raise vital funds and awareness, all while encouraging people to get moving for better mental health. This year, West Kent Mind are one of 20 local Minds who are able to benefit directly from this fundraising. As a team, we will be partaking in the challenge, while also scheduling regular events and providing exercise inspiration and support to all of our “REDers”. We have a great team of ambassadors lined-up who will be taking this journey with us. Our first community champion to be announced is our West Kent Mind ambassador, Dame Kelly Holmes who is a big supporter of RED January. Registration is now open, so please get active in January and help to support your local mental health charity.

Please register with the unique URL via our website to ensure you are supporting West Kent Mind with your efforts: www.westkentmind.org.uk/community-development/red-january.

For more information on our services, please visit www.westkentmind.org.uk

You can contact us at the following email addresses:
youthmentalhealth@westkentmind.org.uk (for training in schools)
training@westkentmind.org.uk (for enquiries about courses for individuals or organisations)
hello@westkentmind.org.uk (for general enquiries or support)

Mental Health First Aid England (MHFA) certified courses:

• Monday 3rd – MHFA Youth 1 day (Sevenoaks)
• Friday 7th & Wednesday 12th – MHFA Adult 2 day (Sevenoaks)
• Tuesday 25th – MHFA Adult 1 Day (Tunbridge Wells)

MARCH 2020
• Wednesday 11th – MHFA Adult 1 day (Sevenoaks)
• Wednesday 18th & 25th March – MHFA Adult 2 Day (Tunbridge Wells)
• Monday 23rd & Friday 27th – MHFA Youth 2 day (Sevenoaks)

APRIL 2020
• Wednesday 1st & Thursday 2nd – MHFA Adult 2 day (Sevenoaks)
• Tuesday 28th – MHFA Adult 1 day (Sevenoaks)

• Wednesday, 5th February – Self-Harm Workshop (10am-12noon, Tunbridge Wells)
• Wednesday, 5th February- Workplace Wellbeing Workshop (1-2pm, Tunbridge Wells)



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