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Suffolk extends mental health offering for young people

More young adults in Suffolk will be able to seek help from Kooth after the free online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service was extended in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Kooth was launched across the county on October 10 last year – World Mental Health Day – to provide support to young people aged between 11 and 18-years-old.

But due to its success, and the outbreak of COVID19, it has now been extended to all young adults up to the age of 25.
Since going live in October the service has been accessed over 3,100 times, with 97% of the youngsters who used it saying they would recommend it to a friend.

As a result, the two Suffolk NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and Public Health Suffolk, which commission the service, decided to make it available to more young people.

Kooth provides young people in Suffolk with safe and secure access to support with their emotional health and wellbeing needs from a professional team of qualified counsellors.  Young people can drop in for one-to-one instant text-based chats or book a session in advance.  Kooth also offers access to moderated online forums, opportunities to read and contribute to self-help articles and access to tools such as journals and goal trackers.

Young people can access this service anonymously by signing onto the Kooth site. Kooth provides unique out of office hours’ provision and is open 7 days per week, 365 days a year from noon until 10pm weekdays and from 6pm until 10pm on Saturday and Sundays.

Dr John Hague, mental health lead for the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, said: “Young people are more susceptible than most to the challenges and pressures of an ever-changing and complex world at the best of times.

“The country is now in the grip of a pandemic that has had a huge impact on their lives and their ability to share their problems with their friends and peers, so now is the ideal time to extend access to this excellent online service.”

Cllr James Reeder, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Public Health and Prevention, said: “We are living in unprecedented times and it must be very frightening for a lot young people right now.

“Not everyone has the benefit of being able to talk things through with their parents, other family members or friends and that is why Kooth is such an invaluable asset.

“I am delighted that together with our partners from the CCGs we have been able to extend access to the service to even more people in these worrying times.”

Kooth is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and is delivered by XenZone, the UK’s largest digital mental health provider. There are no waiting lists or thresholds for young people to use the service, which has been commissioned across more than 140 NHS areas and is seeing increased demand during the coronavirus outbreak.

Dr Lynne Green, XenZone’s Chief Clinical Officer added, “We’re pleased to see our service extended to 19-25 year olds in Suffolk and we encourage these young adults to use the service how and when they need to during these challenging circumstances.

“They will be able to support each other through moderated forums and self-help content as well as chat to a qualified counsellor about whatever they’re struggling with through a text-based messaging service.

“We are seeing an increasing need for our service and a change in presenting issues from children and young people as they struggle to adapt to loneliness and isolation and home relationships.”

Visit Kooth HERE

Kooth is an integral component of Suffolk’s mental health provision offering digital counselling and emotional well-being service for young people.  Details of other local  help and advice for young people can be found on the Source website.

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