Commissioned in Cornwall since 2012, XenZone has delivered early intervention online and face-to-face support through Kooth, the mental health and emotional well-being platform for children and young people.
Service delivery that evolves with the region’s needs
Throughout its initial three-year contract, XenZone’s approach to early intervention mental and emotional health support resulted in dramatically reduced waiting times for counselling and support in Cornwall and strong improvement in children reflected in young people’s core mental health scores.
Based on the ongoing success of XenZone’s integrated model, Cornwall Council was keen to further develop this approach to delivery based on feedback from young people and stakeholders around the effectiveness of a partnership approach. This led to the contract being successfully won by the umbrella body: Learning Partnership Cornwall.
A collaborative culture: community response to disadvantage and distress
XenZone now delivers its Kooth services under the Learning Partnership umbrella, alongside three partner organisations: Young People Cornwall, Penwith Community Development Trust and Volunteer Cornwall.
Jointly designed, developed and managed with young people through Learning Partnership Cornwall, Kooth delivers a suite of counselling and mentoring services. The service is flexible and responsive to meet local demand, with the aim of improving young people’s emotional resilience and mental well-being.
There are no referrals or waiting lists for the online service – young people sign up and can speak to a counsellor through booked or drop-in counselling chats, messaging or gain peer support through live moderated forums. By fully integrating with on-the-ground services, Kooth is able to deliver a stepped approach, which means that children and young people receive the level of support they need, whether that’s self help, reliable information, therapy or referral to CAMHS.
The service has also been extended to young people who are NEET (not in education, employment or training) or at risk of becoming NEET.
Working closely with schools, community partners, CAMHS, GPs and youth services – as well as its partners in Learning Partnership Cornwall – XenZone’s hard working mix of online and face-to-face services have resulted in the needs of young people being met in a timely way:
“Kooth provides genuine choice and flexibility for young people who need support with their mental health and well-being. Thanks to lessons we learned from the blended counselling model, we’ve now extended the scope of our blended approach into other areas of support.” Mel Carne, Commissioning Manager 11+ Services, Children’s, Schools and Families Directorate, Cornwall Council
Further therapeutic interventions on the horizon
Continuing to work in collaboration with its partners in Cornwall, XenZone is working closely within the Big Lottery funded Headstart project which aims to develop emotional resilience in 10-16 year olds across the country. XenZone contributes as providers of digital inclusion work, as consultants within the Digital Workstream of the project and as a steering group board member.
XenZone also works closely within the CAMHS Transformation Plan, as consultants and board members, and there are plans to develop the model in Cornwall to provide greater access through online and face-to-face early help support.