Online service gives a safe space for young people to access professional mental health advice

By Ben Fitzgerald - 8 March 2018


Swindon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has commissioned XenZone, pioneer of online counselling services, to give children and young people access to professional mental health counsellors through its online Kooth service.

The Kooth service is a key part of Swindon’s drive to improve accessibility, promote resilience and better support young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. The online service is an effective early help for emerging mental health problems and can reduce the stigma sometimes associated with seeking help for mental ill-health.

Kooth will give children and young people - from age 11 until 18 unlimited access to professional online counsellors, moderated forums, self-help materials and a mood journal, where they can record their thoughts and feelings. Young people are encouraged to identify their own goals and monitor progress with their counsellor, charting movement as progress is achieved. The Kooth site is accessible at any time, via any connected device, helping to eliminate the stigma often associated with asking for help.

The online counselling team is available on Kooth between mid-day and 10pm on week days and from 6pm until 10pm at weekends.

Young people register anonymously on the site, which gives them access to drop-in or booked online chats with British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy certified counsellors, psychotherapists and emotional wellbeing practitioners. They can log in to Kooth through any connected device.

Kooth offers moderated peer to peer support, as well as giving young people access to downloadable self-help resources, forums and discussion groups. They can also read and contribute to the Kooth online magazine.

Esther Schmidt, Children's Services Commissioning Lead for Swindon CCG, said, “We are excited to be able to offer this innovative online service. Our aim is to make our mental health support services as accessible to children and young people as possible. Whether they ask for digital or face-to-face counselling or whether they need specialist support, we will ensure they get the right help at the right time.”

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