Launching new youth online counselling
A new online mental health support service for young people has launched in Sheffield.
Digital health pioneer XenZone launched the service, Kooth, which was commissioned by NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group. The commission, part of the local council and CCG’s response to the Young Healthwatch Report on young people’s self-worth, gives local children and young people aged 11-18 free and anonymous access to an accredited online counselling and emotional support service. Young people can log on to the service for free and access anonymous online counselling and mental wellbeing support. One-to-one instant messaging sessions with qualified counsellors are available from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays, and between 6pm and 10pm on weekends. Kooth also offers access to self-help materials, mood-tracking and goal setting tools, counsellor messaging and peer-to-peer support through moderated online forums. The forums address issues that range from exam stress and depression to self-harm and relationship problems. NHS Sheffield CCG aims to increase the number of young people accessing support for their mental health. Kooth will be integrated into the council’s Early Help offer, mental health support in schools as well as Health and Social Care services, including specialist mental health support for children and young people. Dr Steve Thomas, Sheffield GP and Clinical Lead Director for Mental Health, Learning Disabilities and Dementia at NHS Sheffield CCG, said: “Mental health and wellbeing is a huge priority. We hope that online counselling and support is one way for young people to access help and advice, even when life is busy. It’s easy to use and they can help with anything you need to talk about.”