Young people aged 11-18 across North Yorkshire can now access Kooth, a website offering free online counselling and emotional wellbeing support
Kooth, from digital mental health provider XenZone, gives young people instant access to emotional and wellbeing advice and support whenever and whenever they need it.
It incorporates self-help articles and online tools such as a mood tracker, as well as professional online therapy and moderated peer-to-peer forums.
Kooth has been commissioned by local mental health provider Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV) as part of its commitment to provide early mental health guidance and support through digital provision.
The service is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and provides a safe environment where young people can chat anonymously and in confidence with qualified counsellors, who are online from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays and from 6pm until 10pm at weekends, 365 days a year.
Young people can register on Kooth without having to provide personal details such as their name or address. It provides a safe and non-judgmental place for them to talk, connect and chat with others and know they are not alone.
Commenting on the website Chris Davis, TEWV head of service for children and young people, said: “Digital technology is a daily part of people’s lives now, especially for children and young people.
“They expect to be able to go online to get instant access the help and support they need.
“Being able to have a presence online to provide advice and guidance to young people in our area is essential in helping drive forward mental health provision.
“We have commissioned the Kooth service to complement our existing care provision.
“The online counsellors are fully qualified and experienced and where necessary will signpost children and young people to wider support available, as well as having the ability, when information is provided to them, to refer them directly on to our services if needed.”
Kooth founder, Elaine Bousfield, said: “It’s so important that young people can access support when they need it with none of the stigma they may feel is sometimes attached to seeking help.
“We look forward to integrating Kooth with local services, to help support more young people with their mental wellbeing at the time of need.”
Kooth is now available in more than 120 Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas, and in 2018 saw more than 1,700 log-ins every day.
For further information visit www.kooth.com.