Large-scale research of 192,000 users of Kooth’s digital platforms shows: 

Suicidal and self-harm thoughts among half of adults, an increase of almost a fifth

Suicidal thoughts increased 64% among young men

Anxiety feelings among half of adults from ethnic minorities, an increase of 12%

Sleep and motivation problems growing for students, children and young people

Eating difficulties more prevalent among young people

Major research in the Kooth Pulse 2021 – The State of the Nation’s Mental Health shows the lead indicators for mental health in the UK are deteriorating, as the nation prepares to resume ‘normal’ life.

The research covers the year to March 2021, based on anonymous data from 192,000 people on Kooth’s mental health platforms.  The statistics in the report relate to subsets of the sample of 192,000 users, such as adults, students, children and young people, and ethnic minorities.

Data shows alarming trends in critical areas such as self-harm, anxiety and eating difficulties and suggest a need for urgent action to curb the fallout from COVID.  

The findings underline the importance of access to digital support in improving mental health.  Digital healthcare resources have been important in meeting growing demand for mental health support during the pandemic.  Consumers increasingly want 24/7 access to digital support in all areas of life, including healthcare.

The findings also underline the need for early intervention to stop early-stage problems, such as self-harm and mental health issues among young men, from becoming critical.

The research covering subsets of 192,000 users of Kooth’s digital platforms shows the mental health issues for those seeking help: 

  • 52% adults from ethnic minorities are suffering from anxiety, up 12% vs. 2019
  • 49% adults had suicidal or self-harm thoughts for several days, up 17% vs. 2019
  • Significant increase in motivation, sleep and education issues for children and young people from ethnic minority backgrounds
  • Students, children and young people struggling more with sleep and motivation
  • 1 in 12 young people have eating difficulties, up 51% vs. 2019
  • 27% increase in self-harm issues among children and young people
  • 64% increase in men under-18 presenting with suicidal thought
  • 71% increase in adult males using Kooth
  • 54% increase in suicidal thoughts for 10-13 year olds

Tim Barker, CEO of Kooth, said

“We knew the distressing impact of COVID on the UK’s mental health.  As an NHS-commissioned service to provide mental health early intervention and prevention support across the country, Kooth’s data provides a barometer into the issues that are on the rise within the wider population.  As a result, we are now getting a picture of how the UK’s mental health landscape could evolve when we get to a post-vaccine world.  Lead indicators suggest critical areas like self-harm, anxiety and eating difficulties are becoming more of a problem for those who experience mental health issues.  Ethnic minorities, students, children and young people are a particular concern.”

“Two solutions are clear if we are to protect the nation’s mental health from the fallout from COVID. First, we need to broaden access to mental healthcare, and this must include 24/7 digital access.  Second, we need early intervention to arrest some of the alarming emerging trends in areas like self-harm, motivation and eating.” 

Sir Norman Lamb, Chair of Kooth Advisory Board, said

Digital mental health platforms are now providing necessary and vital support to the NHS.  The problems are clear: we need to address the increase in demand for mental health support, workforce shortages in the health sector, and the digital wants and needs of our population.  It is, and continues to be, vital that we widen accessibility to effective digital mental health services and offer access to high quality interventions.” 


About Kooth plc:

Kooth is the UK’s leading digital mental health platform. Our mission is to provide accessible and safe spaces for everyone to achieve better mental health. Our platform is clinically robust and accredited to provide a range of therapeutic support and interventions. All our services are predicated on easy access to make early intervention and prevention a reality.

Our four services are:

  • Kooth: for children and young persons
  • Kooth Student: for university and higher-education students
  • Kooth: for Adults 
  • Kooth Work: for employees

Kooth is a fully safeguarded and pre-moderated community with a library of peer and professional created content, alongside access to experienced online counsellors. There are no thresholds for support and no waiting lists. Currently, Kooth sees over 4,000 logins a day.

For adults, Kooth operates across distinct locations and serves specific cohorts, including parents, teachers, victims of crime, and those who have suffered from or continue to experience domestic violence. It is also offered as a benefit by a number of corporate organisations delivering anonymous digital mental health support services to employees.

Kooth is the only digital mental health provider to hold a UK-wide accreditation from the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). 

Kooth recently launched the #DontDoItAlone campaign alongside five well known influencers to share the importance of not dealing with mental wellbeing alone. You can view the campaign here.


  1. All data quoted relates to research report covering 192,000 anonymous users of Kooth digital health platforms.
  2. Statistics in this report relate to the relevant subset of the sample of 192,000 users.
  3. For full detail on the methodology for, and findings in, this announcement, please refer to Kooth Pulse 2021 – The State of the Nation’s Mental Health which is located at
  4. Data covers the year to 31 March 2021.
  5. Data covers people in an age range of 10 to 85 years old.
  6. Children and young people are defined as 10 to 25 years old.