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Counselling and health education

Summary :: Our programmes and services :: Counselling and health education

To a certain extent the number of people requiring this type of intervention should be minimised by co-ordinated actions taken to address socio-economic factors which impinge on health and well-being combined with effective population based measures. However, it should also be recognised that not everyone is able to benefit from these contextual changes to the same degree and some people require additional support to lead healthier lifestyles.

Perhaps the best known example is smoking cessation advice. The Medway Stop Smoking service offers group and one-to-one sessions, telephone advice and specialist pregnancy support at a variety of venues such as health centres, community centres as well as in hospital. People can also receive support from their general practice or pharmacy. NRT (Nicotine replacement therapy) is available as a one-off prescription charge.

The Windmill clinic at Medway hospital provides antenatal clinic for women with substance misuse issues. There is also a weekly postnatal drop-in breastfeeding clinic at Medway hospital which in turn, serves to direct women to further advice and the breastfeeding support network.

Starting in April 2012, the Medway Community food team are running a series of free healthy cookery workshops for families with children in Medway. The aim is to help families feel more confident about how to cook healthy meals and learn some new cookery skills. The MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it) programme is a holistic approach to improving the fitness, nutrition and self-esteem of children and their parents/carers through a series of games, educational sessions and activities. For adults, there is the 'Exercise Referral' scheme which enables healthcare professionals to refer patients for supervised exercise at reduced, or no cost. The 12-week programme is coordinated by the health improvement team and based in local leisure centres. Furthermore, the 'Tipping the Balance' scheme offers 12 one-to-one appointments with a health improvement specialist nurse over the course of a year. Participants are offered a range of activities to increase fitness combined with counselling to address some of the underlying issues which lead to people becoming overweight in the first place. Medway Community Healthcare runs two Diabetes patient education programmes which aim to empower the individual with better self-management skills. The first for adult newly diagnosed type 1 diabetics, known as BERTIE (Bournemouth Type 1 Intensive Education), consists of one whole day a week for four weeks. The second is for type 2 diabetics, known as X-PERT (eXpert Patient Education versus Routine Treatment), consists of six two hour sessions and is for newly diagnosed patients and those already with the condition who feel they would benefit from the course.

Working under the Medway DAAT (Drug and Alcohol Action team) KCA (Kent Council on Addition) treats patients with a range of issues related to substance misuse. Services include one-to-one key working, group work, substitute prescribing and other community interventions including pathways into inpatient detoxification and residential rehabilitation. In addition, the Kent & Medway Partnership Trust provides a similar service for those affected by alcohol misuse. KCA also treats young people with substance and alcohol misuse problems.

Talking therapies can help people cope with conditions like: stress, anxiety, depression, habits like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, phobias, anger management and bereavement, and are free to those meeting eligibility criteria as assessed by a GP. Treatment can include: guided self help booklets, life skills workshops, focused counselling, employment related support and therapy. Provision of these therapies is in line with NICE guidance.

MIND and It's Good to Talk provide information on all the different types of therapies available