Kooth gives those aged 11 - 25 years in east and west Suffolk access through their mobile device to counselling, peer-to-peer support, self-help materials and moderated forums with other young members of Kooth.
The service was launched locally to coincide with last October’s World Mental Health Day in 2019.
In the year since its launch, 2382 users have logged on to the service a total of 18,046 times, engaged in 1150 chat sessions, messaged counsellors 8379 times and read 4993 self-help articles. The data also shows that the majority of users are in the 13 – 16 years age category, and 79% are female. More than half of the users heard about Kooth from their school or teacher.
The main issues reported by the young users were feelings of anxiety and stress and concerns about self- harm. Family issues have become a more prominent issue during this time of coronavirus.
NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups and Public Health Suffolk commission Kooth as part of their ongoing commitment to improving local mental health support for children and young people. This is part of the ongoing ten year plan to transform emotional wellbeing and mental health services in Suffolk.
Dr John Hague, mental health lead for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I am very encouraged that so many young people have accessed Kooth for support with their emotional wellbeing.
“Kooth is a modern and highly effective tool for reaching young people and giving them the best start in life, and it is certainly pleasing that schools and teachers are embracing the service and signposting their students to it.
"Please remember though that Kooth is available for all young people up to the age of 25, not just those in education."
Cllr James Reeder, cabinet member for Public Health and Prevention, said: “I’m pleased to see many people making use of the service and the positive impact this is having on young people’s wellbeing.
“At a time when we’re seeing increasing pressure on young people’s mental health, it is more important than ever to have services such as Kooth available for valuable, confidential support.”
Nancy Merfield, Wellbeing Clinical Manager with Suffolk 4YP, said: "There is no question that this has been a challenging year, with young people continuing to need mental health support. There is a clear need for a range of services that can support our young people.
"The Kooth service complements our work at 4YP, which between March and October, has delivered 1658 counselling sessions to young people on issues including low mood, anxiety, self-harm, confidence issues and relationship concerns.
"There is help and support available for any young person who needs it."
Kooth is available over the Christmas and New Year period to support young people who find this time of year difficult. Please see their opening times for wellbeing counselling sessions below:
Christmas Eve 4pm - 8pm
Christmas Day 4pm - 8pm
Boxing Day 4pm - 8pm
New Years Eve 12noon - 8pm
New Year's Day 4pm – 8pm
The Kooth website can be accessed 24/7 by young people. Visit www.kooth.com