Children and young people in Calderdale are able to access help and support with mental health and wellbeing issues, such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem using a free online counselling service.
Kooth is an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people aged 11-25, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop and free at the point of use.
In the last six months alone, young people in Calderdale have logged-in more than 3,800 times, over 70% of which were outside traditional 9am – 5pm hours.
Online counsellors have exchanged more than 2,700 messages with local young people and have delivered over 250 one to one online counselling sessions. According to Kooth’s end of session questionnaires, 97% of those using Kooth would recommend it to a friend.
Rhona Radley, Deputy Head of Service Improvement at NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’ve commissioned Kooth because it’s an accessible online service for children and young people that can help to support their wellbeing, which is also anonymous and totally safe.
“Young people accessing the service can access one-to-one counselling sessions, talk to other young people who may have similar and issues and support others with the learning and advice they’ve received, and read articles for more information on the issues they’re working through.
“We recognised that there was a gap in the way we supported young peoples’ emotional health in our area for an early intervention solution. The service links closely with local schools; who actually approached the NHS and asked for an accessible service that gives young people the support they need and gives them tools to manage their own wellbeing.
“Kooth helps to reduce waiting times for young people seeking help, while removing the stigma associated with accessing mental health support.”
The service is available to children and young people in Calderdale until 10:00 pm every night, 365 days a year.
Dr Caroline Taylor, Clinical Lead for Mental Health services at NHS Calderdale CCG, said: “We’re taking steps to improve the emotional support available to young people in Calderdale, and Kooth is a fantastic resource for 11-25 year olds in our area.
“Young people who are upset angry or confused can log on to Kooth for help and support whenever they feel they need it, whether as a first point of call or alongside other treatments.”
According to Elaine Bousfield, founder of XenZone, the organisation behind Kooth, “We support thousands of children and young people through Kooth who are looking for timely support. Because it’s so accessible and has no waiting lists, we can offer early help and can also support typically hard-to-reach communities.
“We hope that young people in Calderdale come to Kooth for online support, knowing that the site is anonymous, professional and safe.”