Hillingdon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has commissioned XenZone’s online counselling and emotional well-being service, Kooth, a free counselling and support service offering timely access to therapy for children and young people (CYP). The service is available from 9th July 2018 for young people aged 11-18 years in Hillingdon and for students at Harrow & Uxbridge College.
Kooth has been commissioned as a 12-month pilot in response to Hillingdon CCG’s aim to give CYP access to early intervention mental health support services alongside existing specialist CAMHS services. The Hillingdon Children and Young People’s Mental Health Local Transformation Plan acknowledges that many young people lean towards online support to get information and support.
Kooth is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and can be accessed through any connected device. The service offers CYP timely and confidential access to self-help materials, articles, moderated online forums, plus mood tracking and goal-setting tools. On Kooth last year over 4,000 young people achieved or took positive steps towards achieving their personal goals, and over 11,000 goals were achieved.
Young people can also message a counsellor when they need, or they can schedule in live text-based chat sessions. Kooth counsellors are trained professionals and are available 365 days a year, from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays and 6pm until 10pm on weekends.
Caroline Morison, Chief Operating Officer for Hillingdon CCG said, “Young people’s mental health is our top priority. The CCG are looking to work with as many local partners as possible – local councillors, GPs, local schools, Children and Young people services, among others, to spread the word and ensure that young people get help early.”
The newly commissioned service will work closely with existing CAMHS, Local Authority Children’s Services, GPs and other CYP support services to ensure as many young people know about the support available to them.
XenZone founder and chair, Elaine Bousfield, said, “All children and young people should have free access to mental health support when they need it. Children and young people self-refer to Kooth which eliminates long waiting times and stigma they may feel when asking for help. We hope it is used by children and young people in Hillingdon who need support with their mental health.”
Kooth is commissioned in over 80 CCG areas. Between April 2016 and April 2017, more than 1,200 CYP logged in to Kooth every day; 71% of these were out of office hours (office hours defined as 9am – 5pm)