Step 1

Mental Health Services Kent

The first stage on your journey to recovery is to identify that you have a mental health difficulty, decide to take steps to address and resolve that difficulty and then set out on a pathway towards mental wellbeing.

This section will guide you through the process of identifying your needs and will explain what you can do to take control of your situation and seek help.

  • Identification
  • When to seek help
  • Other sources of support 
  • Self-management
  • How to refer
  • Assessment information

Frequently asked questions about the Addaction Mental Health Services assessment process.


Are you worried about your mental health?

We seek help – from a doctor, pharmacist or nurse – when we’re not physically well.  Why not get help when we’re not mentally at our best? Modern life is challenging enough without the added burden of dealing alone with the problems that threaten our mental wellbeing.

Our Psychological Therapy Directorate has been providing primary care psychological therapy for 16 years. We work with people who are 18 years old and older (some of our services have a lower age limit of 16), with no upper age limit, and from all sections of society, employment status and ethnic background.

We offer easy access to psychological treatments and therapies for common mental health problems, such as:

Find out more about some common mental health problems.

When to seek help?

If you are worried about your mental health, please consult your GP or, alternatively, you can self-refer directly into our services and we will offer you an assessment within three days.

Our services are based on a stepped care framework which complies with NICE guidance on psychological therapy.
You will be offered treatment that is appropriate to the level of severity of your mental health difficulties.

You can use this chart to identity your own personal situation.

Most types of therapy have more similarities than differences. They are all talking therapies which focus on difficult symptoms and events and support you in managing how you feel. However, some therapies may have been proven through research to be most effective for specific difficulties.

You can access Addaction’s services through a GP or self-referral.


How can I help myself?

Mental health is often described as ‘emotional health’ or ‘wellbeing’. Good mental health enables you to cope with any difficulties that life may throw at you. Research shows that there are some things that you can do to help support good mental health and prevent problems from developing.

Just like ‘five (fruit & veg) a day’ can help with your physical health, there is a mental health ‘five a day’.

GGrow and learn – learning something new can be very rewarding. Finding a new interest can be a good way to meet new people.

RRelate – connect with those people around you, at home at work, or in your local community. Stop for a chat, help a neighbour, volunteer.

EExercise – makes us feel better; just 10 minutes walking a day will make a difference. Or take up dancing, swim, cycle – whatever takes your fancy.

AAltruism – give something – a smile, a compliment, do something kind for a friend or a colleague.

TTake notice – be thankful – and notice the goodness and beauty around you.

Following this advice will help you to feel GREAT!

For more hints and tips visit:

How to refer

You can be referred to our services by your GP or any other health care professional, or you can self-refer by getting in touch with us directly. Please visit our services page to find contact details of a service near where you live.

Assessment information

We offer assessment of known or suspected mental health difficulties in order to offer you the best possible treatment. The assessment process identifies the problem and explores potential treatments with referral to services and organisations that can help.

Assessment takes place once a referral has been received from a GP, other health care professional or a self-referral.

Within three days of receipt we will screen your referral, attempt to contact you by phone to collect demographic information and offer you an assessment.

We aim to contact you by phone on at least three occasions, and at different times of the day/evening, to provide the broadest possible opportunity for an instant contact.

Should this not be possible, after trying to contact you three times by telephone, we will write to you, asking you to contact us to arrange an appointment. (If we have permission on the referral to contact you by text or email, we will do this before writing to you). We welcome your response by phone, or email. If we have an office in your locality, drop in, we’d love to meet you.

We need to operate efficiently so if after 14 days we have not heard from you we will close the file. However, you may refer again AT ANY TIME.

At assessment your practitioner will suggest the most relevant evidenced-based treatment for you. If this is not what you want, please tell us, and we will then consider alternatives.

We will then refer you on (signpost you) to the most relevant provider, or offer you Step 2 or Step 3/3a services by our own practitioners. We also offer complementary services, such as our Move to Improve programme of walking, cycling or swimming accompanied by a trained psychological wellbeing practitioner.

Some examples of signposting:

To Community Mental Health Teams

To bereavement services

To local Drug Services – find out where Addaction’s drug services are here

To local Alcohol Services – find out where Addaction’s alcohol services are here

Help is never far away

Find your local Addaction Mental Health Service