Mental Health

The Blackthorn Trust has been helping people to improve their mental health for over 30 years. People come to Blackthorn to engage in a programme of activities specially selected for their individual needs. This could include working in the garden, the café, or participating in workshop activities, but every day is punctuated by taking communal breaks together.

The rhythmical nature of the day creates structure, social cohesion and a sense of safety. The workshops provide a forum for hidden talents to reveal themselves, and exchange of stories and ideas, and a gradual strengthening of individual will that paves the way for change. Blackthorn’s therapies under-pin this process, allowing people to address deeper underlying issues that may have been holding them back.
Everybody who takes up a placement at Blackthorn is known as a ‘co-worker’ and is paired up with a mentor who helps steer their journey towards whatever future they have defined for themselves after Blackthorn.
To support these steps, co-workers have access to the Blackthorn Trust’s unique vocational programme, a one-to-one creative coaching service. To date, we have helped people set up their own businesses, return to work following long term unemployment, and take up volunteering roles in the local community.
Our mental health programme can be accessed via several routes. Our services can be accessed via Live Well Kent . We also accept referrals from GPs, the Community Mental Health Team, Kent Enablement and Recovery Service (KERS), Social Services, and NHS services.

The referral form can be downloaded here: Referral to Blackthorn Mental Health – 2020

Please note that all programmes are subject to meeting certain criteria, details of which can be found in the referral form.


“A number of clients of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust Maidstone Community Mental Health team have benefitted from a Co-Workers placement at Blackthorn Trust as a pathway to return to paid employment.

The placements have proved incredibly successful and with outstanding care and support from staff, volunteers and indeed other Co-Workers, many people have made the vital transition back to paid employment having a positive impact on their mental health recovery.”

Jeanette Freeman Vocational Rehabilitation Lead, NHS & Social Care Partnership Trust

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