News 2 April

11-18 year olds in the City and Hackney area now have access to free, anonymous online mental health service, Kooth

In this difficult time, City & Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group along with CAMHs Alliance have decided to fast-track the implementation of this service to support children and young people through the current Covid-19 circumstance and beyond.

The service will be free for young people in City and Hackney and will provide a safe and secure means for young people to access online support from a professional team of qualified counsellors and will also integrate with existing local services to ensure a seamless offer.

Kooth is an online mental health and wellbeing service for young people from the UK’s pioneers in digital mental health, XenZone. Kooth which is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), allows young people to read and contribute articles surrounding mental health, join moderated forum discussions enabling them to support each other, and use tools such as online journals and goal trackers. Children and young people using Kooth are able to chat via instant messaging to a qualified counsellor via an online drop-in service or booked session. 

Kooth has no referrals or waiting lists, and Young people can access this service anonymously by signing onto the Kooth site (kooth.com).

The commissioning of Kooth is part of the CAMHS Transformation Programme delivered through the City and Hackney CAMHS Alliance as part of the 2019-2023 children and young people mental health strategy which includes a focus on prevention and early intervention, as well as giving service users more control of their own care and recovery. Young people at Young Hackney were involved in the decision making process for what services they’d like to see commissioned and had a demonstration of Kooth.

Clinical Lead of City and Hackney CCG, Rhiannon England said, “City and Hackney CCG are delighted to be engaging Kooth to deliver online therapies to children and young people. Online approaches are an important part of our mental health strategy and have now been a central area of focus given the current C-19 pandemic”.

Dr Lynne Green, XenZone’s Chief Clinical Officer added, “The moderated online forums and discussions on Kooth are a fantastic opportunity for young people in the City and Hackney area to engage with those who may be going through similar challenges both within and beyond their local community. In addition to peer support, our trained counsellors are on hand via pre-booked or drop in chat sessions, so that our youngsters continue to feel supported and connected during these extremely challenging times”. 

About City and Hackney CCG

NHS City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is an NHS organisation led by local GPs, who are best placed to assess, understand and meet the health needs of their patients, ensuring effective and accessible healthcare for all. The City and Hackney locality  is made up of 40 GP practices, which cover a combined population of 300,000 plus. All 40 practices are members of the GP Confederation which works closely with the CCG to provide good care for patients.

The CCG is overseen by NHS England, which ensures they have the capacity and capability to commission services successfully

About CAMHs Alliance

The CAMHS Alliance was created in April 2015, as a multi-agency partnership of mental health providers across City & Hackney that work to develop better pathways and ensure we deliver integrated care services that can effectively reach more children, young people, families, schools and the wider community.