- NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group extends digital mental health platform Kooth to all young adults in the area
- The extension means that the service is now available to all those aged between 10-25 years of age
- Kooth has seen an increased demand for digital mental support from children and young people across the UK due to COVID-19 – +42% in the past year
The NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has extended its commissioning of Kooth, a free, safe and anonymous digital counselling and support service for children and young adults, to include all those aged between 10 to 25 years*.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented disruption to the daily lives of children and young adults in the UK, increasing the demand for digital mental health services. By extending its commissioning of Kooth, NHS Kent and Medway CCG is ensuring that all children and young adults have a safe and confidential way to access emotional wellbeing and early intervention mental health support.
Kooth has recently published data – Pulse Report 2021 – exploring the implications COVID-19 has had on on the mental health and wellbeing of children and young people across the UK. Key findings from the study, include:
- Kooth platform usage up by 42% amongst children and young people.
- For our under-18 population who have presented with any issues, Kooth has seen a +39% increase in those presenting with suicidal thoughts and a +27% increase in those presenting with self-harm.
- In 2020, Kooth handled +51% young people presenting with eating difficulties.
- For Black, Asian and Non-White young people, there was a +83% increase in sleep difficulties, a +71% increase in school/college issues and a +25% increase in feelings of sadness.
As an award winning and innovative online mental health and wellbeing support service, accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), Kooth offers young adults access to a range of online support services including one-to-one anonymous counselling sessions. Its 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. Sessions can be booked in advance or they can drop-in for one-to-one instant text-based chats, providing a much needed out-of-hours service for emotional support in an accessible way.
The service encourages peer-to-peer support via pre-moderated discussion forums and provides 24/7 access to – and the ability to contribute to – self-help content, including magazines with wellbeing articles, personal experiences and tips from other young adults and the Kooth team. It also offers members the opportunity to write in a daily journal to track feelings or emotions and promote a positive mental health and wellbeing.
Dr Jihad Malasi, a GP in Ramsgate and clinical lead for mental health at NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Helping give children and young people the best start in life is a key commitment for the NHS. We are very pleased to continue working with Kooth to bring this easy to access, free and anonymous mental health support to even more young people.
“We know that the Covid-19 pandemic has had a profound effect on the mental health of children and young people but we are sure that Kooth will continue to provide them with an invaluable resource where they can get help.”
Dr Lynne Green, Chief Clinical Officer at Kooth PLC commented: “Supporting children and young adults with their wellbeing and mental health has never been more pertinent. The impact of a global pandemic has led to an increase in the need for services that can help children and young adults adapt to a fundamental change in their daily lives and routine. From three national lockdowns to the anxiety surrounding the disruption to school and further education, and for some young adults the return to work.
She added: “It’s encouraging to see how forward thinking CCGs such as NHS Kent and Medway CCG are working hard to support citizens of all ages during this time and beyond. We are delighted to be working together to give children and young people in the county access to free, anonymous mental health support whenever they need it. The service will help those young adults already awaiting assessment and treatment, as well as provide early intervention and support to children and young adults.”
Notes to Editor
* Kooth was initially available to those aged from 10-16 in Kent and from 11-25 in Medway. Both changes are from 1st April.
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.