GPs in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley are urging people to think about their mental health this winter and get help if they need it.

Many people find the short days and grey weather at this time of year affects their mood. For some Christmas and New Year are also difficult.

Local GP and NHS Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group Chair Dr Sarah MacDermott said: “It is easy to overlook the fact that winter can put pressure on our mental health as well as physical health, so it’s important that people can spot the signs of someone who may need support and know where they can go for help.

“Sometimes, the last thing you feel like doing is talking to people. You might be feeling anxious, or overwhelmed, or just not very sociable – but connecting with other people has lots of benefits for your mental health. Talking through things that are worrying you can be really helpful, just sharing whatever it is can help you feel supported, and listened to.”

Low mood, anxiety, stress, anger, phobias and relationship issues can all impact on your mental health. Overindulging in food and drink, particularly alcohol, can affect your wellbeing, as can lack of quality sleep.

Eating healthily, establishing a regular sleep pattern, and being careful to not exceed the recommended daily limit of alcohol units can help, as well as taking regular exercise which releases endorphins which can help you to relax, feel happy and boost your mood. Local community groups or other voluntary organisations can also offer opportunities to reduce isolation.

If you feel you need some support you can self-refer for talking therapies such as counselling. You can also talk to your GP.

For more information on mental health in Kent visit the Live Well Kent website or call the Live Well Kent on 0800 567 7699.

The Mental Health Matters helpline (0800 107 0160) offers confidential emotional support and guidance for people in Kent and Medway 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Helpline staff trained in counselling can provide support over the phone and can signpost to other support services.

Talking Therapies services are provided in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley by Insight Healthcare, North Kent Mind and Thinkaction. You can call them direct to self refer:

·         Insight: 0300 555 5555 / 

·         North Kent Mind: 01322 291380 /

·         Thinkaction (formally KCA):  0300 012 0012 /

If you would like further advice or information, or to discuss a referral for a child or young person, call 0300 123 4496.

Samaritans provides confidential support for anyone feeling down, depressed or anxious, as well as those who may be in despair. Volunteers can be contacted 24/7 on 116 123, email or for face-to-face support, visit the Samaritans website( for details of your local branch.

NHS 111 is also available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You can dial 111 on your phone to speak to someone if you need urgent health advice but it’s not an emergency. If you need emergency services always dial 999.

The Health Help Now app and website can also help to direct you to NHS services that are open near you. Search Health Help Now from the app store.