A new free online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service for young people in east and west Suffolk aged 11 – 18 is being launched on World Mental Health Day (October 10).
Called Kooth, young people will now be able to access online counselling through their mobile device, 365 days a year.
Experienced counsellors will be available for virtual drop-in or bookable chat sessions from 12 noon until 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. on weekends
As well as online counselling, Kooth offers peer-to-peer support, moderated forums with other young members of the ‘Kooth community’ and a wide range of self-help materials.
Young people who use the service will be able to seek support or advice on any topic they wish, from coping with exam stress or bullying, seeking help for an eating disorder, dealing with suicidal thoughts or handling sexual abuse. There are no thresholds or barriers for young people on receiving help from Kooth.
Kooth has been commissioned by NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk and NHS West Suffolk clinical commissioning groups, as part of their ongoing commitment to improving local mental health services and the county’s Children & Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing Plan.
Dr John Hague, mental health lead for NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “With young people using online channels regularly it makes sense to develop emotional wellbeing support services using the medium with which they are often most comfortable.
“Online chat is second nature to them and Kooth is a really good example of a service that will support them to best deal with issues or worries.
“Young people who are emotionally well supported have a far greater chance of enjoying a happy adult life and I am delighted that Kooth is being made available.”
Cllr James Reeder, cabinet member for Public Health and Prevention, said: “Our vision is for children and young people in Suffolk to have the best start in life, enjoy good mental health, and achieve their full potential.
“Kooth is the latest service to be implemented as part of the Suffolk Children and Young People’s Emotional Wellbeing Plan, which is a joint plan developed in collaboration with NHS Ipswich & East Suffolk CCG, NHS West Suffolk CCG, Suffolk County Council, young people, families, health and care organisations, charities, and schools to transform mental health services for children and young people in Suffolk.
“Resources made available through this plan, such as the Emotional Wellbeing Hub and Emotional Wellbeing Gateway Website are already improving access to mental health support and advice for families.”
Access and learn more about Kooth HERE