News 14 August

Anxiety and stress spike among children and young adults (40%) according to data from online mental health service

· XenZone releases new data showing the devastating impact the pandemic on the mental health of Children and Young People (CYPs) in the UK

· Anxiety/stress is the largest presenting issue by volume, seen in 40.3% of all CYPs, a 10.1% increase compared to last year

· More than one-third of all CYPs are presenting with self-harm/suicidal thoughts, an increase of 7.9% in the past year

London, UK, August 10, 2020 –  XenZone, the UK’s largest online digital mental health provider, has released new data today showing a concerning increase in the number of children and young people (CYPs) presenting with issues around anxiety/stress. 40.3% of CYPs are presenting with issues related to anxiety/stress during the lockdown period – an increase of 10.1% on last year. The data also revealed that over one third of CYPs are presenting with self-harm/suicidal thoughts, up 7.9% on 2019.

The online mental wellbeing community service also saw a marked increase in seven other key mental health areas since last year, including:

  • The number of CYPs presenting with anger issues has increased by 34.1%;
  • Body image issues have more than doubled and over 9% of CYPs users are now presenting with eating difficulty issues – an sharp increase of 58.6%;
  • One in 10 CYPs presenting with loneliness issues, up by 21.2% on 2019;
  • The number of CYPs presenting with general mental health issues (including mood disorders, psychiatric episodes and autism/Asperger) has increased significantly (+96.7%);
  • One in five CYPs are presenting with issues around sadness, up by 20.8%;
  • Sleep issues have surged under lockdown. We have seen a rise of 262.2% in the number of CYPs reporting issues around sleep. 

Demand for Kooth, XenZone’s digital mental health service for CYPs, continues to grow, up 15% on last year’s figures.

According to Daniel Mills-Da’Bell, Head of Safeguarding, XenZone: For many children and young people, both freedom and control have been either taken away, or severely limited. When a somebody’s coping strategy has been to engage in self-harming behaviour, this can only be exacerbated when they’re desperately trying to make sense of the current climate we’re living through, and we all reach for behaviours that feel familiar, comforting, or safe, no matter how unhealthy or unsafe they actually are. 

“Children and young people  have also lost so many connections, habits, activities, and enjoyment through the lockdown. This can lead to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and again exacerbated by a bombardment of news letting everybody know how dangerous things are. It’s easy to lose hope, given these circumstances. We do also need to remember that suicidal thoughts don’t necessarily lead to suicidal behaviour, and try and have some tough, but important conversations with each other.”  


XenZone is reporting and sharing its data reports regularly – see our website, under ‘Covid-19 data’

Notes on Data:

  • The time period analysed is w/c 25th March to w/c 22nd July 2019 compared to w/c 23rd March to w/c 20th July 2020. 
  • During this period in 2020, there were 50,875 logins by adults, an increase of 15% on last year.
  • Presenting issues are registered against a service user following any interaction that displays this issue. This is typically during counselling, but could also be during any other interaction, such as comments in a forum. The comparison to last year is based on the proportion of the users that have presented with the particular issue, compared to the proportion last year, during the same time period.

About XenZone

We are the UK’s leading online mental health platform. Our mission is to provide accessible and safe spaces for everyone to achieve better mental health. Our online 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 three services are:

  • Kooth: for children and young persons
  • Kooth Student: for university students
  • Qwell: for adults

Kooth is commissioned in 85% of the NHS’s clinical commissioning group areas across the country. It 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. 

Kooth Student is aimed at university students and is commissioned by three UK universities. 

Qwell 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.

XenZone was established in 2001. For more information: