The “formula” for the success of this service across many Local Authority areas in the UK has been the focus on the needs of young people. We receive feedback on our web site but also visit schools and talk to commissioners, so we know what young people want and what commissioners want.
For young people the important aspects of KOOTH.com are:
- anonymity – they are prepared to ask for help because they are in control; they don’t have to give contact details and can logout at any point.
- confidentiality – what they discuss with a counsellor is subject to the normal client-counsellor confidentiality rules
- different ways to get help – some users do not like the immediacy of chat, so they can use mail. Others don’t want to interact with a counsellor but can get information/advice from the magazine articles. Others like to compare notes with their peers in the pre-moderated support forums.
- it’s free
For commissioners the advantages are:
- access to lots of information via the reports; many young people on KOOTH.com are “below the radar” and have not yet become known to other services
- very accessible by target user group – users can access help from their homes/schools libraries at times to suit them. We are open until 10pm unlike many other counselling services and being online we sidestep any issues with transport or premises which may apply to face to face services
- good value for money because counsellors are not wasting time if a young person “DNAs” (does not attend) – there are plenty of other young people to chat to in drop-in chat if a booked appointment fails to show, plus there are always mails to answer and posts to moderate
- local marketing by visiting schools/training; local news articles in the magazine; signposting/ referrals to local services if appropriate