News 17 June

Young People in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes to Benefit From Free Mental Health Support

XenZone, online mental health pioneer, has been commissioned byNHS Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Luton CCG, Milton Keynes CCG, Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council to offer its free and anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service, Kooth, to every child or young person in the area.

Kooth, accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), now offers local children and young people between the ages of 11 and 19, 24-hour access to self-help materials, mood-tracking and goal setting tools and live, moderated forums. The regular forums cover topics ranging from exam stress and anxiety to eating disorders and grief.

Young people can also log on to access one-to-one online counselling sessions with a qualified counsellor from 12pm until 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm until 10pm on weekends.

Kooth counsellors are qualified, experienced professionals.  The service is currently available in over 100 CCG areas of the UK, and sees more than 1,700 young people logging in every day.

Kooth has been commissioned as an 18 month pilot initially. It will provide children and young people with access to a digital solution to help those in both rural and urban areas across the Sustainable Transformation Plans footprint.

Hannah Pugliese, Children, Young People and Maternity Commissioner at NHS Milton Keynes CCG said: “The CCG has focused on improving access to children and young people mental health services, and children and young people’s mental health is a critical component of the NHS Long Term Plan.  It is great to know that young people will be able to get support through this new service and I am delighted that this ground-breaking service will be available locally.”

Elaine Bousfield, XenZone founder, said: “Online counselling breaks down the barriers that some individuals face, such as stigma, when trying to get help.  Young people can log on to Kooth, which has no waiting lists and no thresholds to meet to gain access to support. We hope Kooth is used by all children and young people in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes who are looking for help for their wellbeing and mental health.”