Warwickshire County Council has commissioned Kooth, a free, safe and anonymous digital counselling and support service for children and young people.
Kooth is a safe and confidential way for young people to access emotional wellbeing and early intervention mental health support. The service will be available to all young people across Warwickshire aged 11-25 years from 29 March.
Kooth.com is an award winning and innovative online mental health and wellbeing support service, accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), which will support and complement the existing offer operated by Rise - a family of NHS-led services providing emotional wellbeing & mental health services for young people across the county. Rise already provide a well-established 24/7 telephone service providing crisis support to young people across Warwickshire. Kooth will deliver digital self-help resources and online counselling to further extend the local offer.
Fully trained and qualified counsellors and emotional wellbeing practitioners are available from midday to 10pm, and from 6pm to 10pm at weekends, 365 days a year to provide a much needed out-of-hours service for emotional support in an accessible way. Sessions can be booked in advance or they can drop in for one-to-one instant text-based chats.
The service also encourages peer to peer support via moderated discussion forums, and self-help through reading or submitting content. Children and young people have 24/7 access to magazines with wellbeing articles, personal experiences and tips from young people and the Kooth team, as well as giving members the opportunity to write in a daily journal to track feelings or emotions and promote a positive mental health and wellbeing.
Warwickshire County Council and Kooth enlisted the support of local young people to co-design the user experience; by sharing their views about which geographical areas across the county best defined where young people come from. This unique piece of work was delivered in partnership with local community organisations across Warwickshire who helped to engage with local young people and ensure their voices were heard.
Strategic Director for People, Nigel Minns, said: “I am so pleased that the county council have commissioned Kooth, which will provide extra support to children and young people to help them look after their mental health and wellbeing.
‘Ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children and young people is always our priority, but with the effects of the pandemic, with disruption to education and missing friends, this is even more important.
“If you are worried about a young person, I would strongly urge you to talk to the child about how they are feeling or to talk to the child’s school who will be able to signpost to the best help for them. We want to remind everyone that they matter, they are not alone and there is always support available.”
Dr Lynne Green, Kooth plc’s Chief Clinical Officer added, “Children and young people in Warwickshire will now be able to access free, anonymous mental health support whenever they need it. The service will help those young people already awaiting assessment and treatment, as well as provide early intervention and support to those children and young people who have worries returning to school after a year of uncertainty and interrupted learning. 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. We are delighted to work with Warwickshire County Council to provide real support during this time and beyond.”
Kooth will also be coming soon to schools in Coventry.
For anyone struggling, there are a range of mental health and wellbeing support services offered in a variety of ways, go to http://www.dearlife.org.uk/.