Artwork created during wellbeing sessions delivered by North Kent Mind


North Kent team respond to growing mental health pressure on students

North Kent Mind’s Children and Young Persons (CYP) Service offers a range of support to help those with mental health concerns. The team have now been nominated for the Kent Mental Wellbeing Awards 2024. Reporter Francesca Day contacted the charity to find out more about the team’s work.


In recent years the numbers of children and young people trying to access specialist mental health services has increased significantly and the recent Covid-19 pandemic has only added to the pressure that these services were already under.  This is a trend that the staff of North Kent Mind’s Children and Young Persons Service are all too aware of when they engage with those that they support.

The team’s CYP coaching service supports young people who have low to mid-level mental health concerns.  Since the pandemic Kezia Murphy, Project Co-ordinator at North Kent Mind, noted that the team have recognised that there is a common trend among young people who have been left feeling highly anxious and are using unhealthy coping mechanisms including self-harming to try to manage these feelings.

“We found there was a large proportion of young people who did not currently meet the criteria to be supported by specialist NHS services, however needed some level of intervention to prevent this escalating”.

The team works tirelessly to ensure that the young people who access their support receive the best level of care.  Their school based practitioners work alongside local schools to deliver solution focused approaches to target issues that exist in that moment.  They offer psychoeducation sessions covering topics such as “understanding anxiety”, “coping with exam stress” and “transitioning to secondary school”.  These sessions take place over a six week period and can easily be incorporated into a school’s timetable.

In an effort to engage with their clients the CYP team at North Kent Mind are always looking to find innovative ideas to engage with young people – Kezia shared two examples with me.

The first is the creation of a worry monster like the one pictured above.  The aim of the exercise is to get the young person to write down their worries and then feed them to the monster to help them vocalise these worries.

Artwork created during wellbeing sessions delivered by North Kent Mind

The second example that Kezia shared was one that aimed to help a young person to improve the quality of their sleep.  This was done through a combination of providing some psychoeducation about sleep hygiene and creating the dream catcher pictured left.

In addition to the coaching support that is available to local schools and the psychoeducation sessions highlighted in this piece the North Kent Mind Children and Young Persons Service also provides perinatal support groups and counselling as part of their Short Intervention Therapy Service.

Nominations for the Kent Mental Wellbeing Awards can be linked to a simple act of kindness that lifted the spirits, a business that has improved staff wellbeing, through to a targeted initiative delivered by a charity, community group or statutory organisation to support a mental wellbeing issue.

The event is sponsored by Kent County Council, Kent Community Foundation, ADM Computing, GrainLNG – National Grid, Medway Council, Optyma Security, Wave Community Bank, Cactus Graphics and CommunityAid.

Submit nominations at For awards news follow @KentMWAwards on Facebook and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.