Children and young people in St Helens aged from 11-25 now have access to free mental health support via Kooth, an online counselling and wellbeing platform.
Kooth, from the UK’s leading digital mental health expert XenZone, provides young people with instant free and anonymous access to self-help materials, live moderated discussion forums and tools such as online journals and goal trackers. Young people can also contribute written pieces of work reflecting their own experiences, as well as accessing drop-in or booked sessions with professional counsellors.
Kooth has been commissioned by NHS St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group. St Helens is within the wider Merseyside area which commissions Kooth. This means there is a universal offering of Kooth’s online service for young people within the area, which aims to reduce waiting times for children and young people to access mental health services.
St Helens CCG will incorporate Kooth collaboratively alongside other mental health services in the area, including CAMHS and Barnardos.
Darren Birks, NHS St Helens’ Senior Commissioning & Transformation Manager, said, “We are very excited to be able to offer Kooth in St Helens, providing near-instant access to online counselling sessions, chat functions and a wealth of support material for our children and young people aged 11-25 years old. This will provide help and support around various topics relevant to St Helens, such as anxiety, stress and self-harm; and also means our children and young people get the support they need much sooner. The service is quick, easy to use and anonymous, meaning users can feel safe and supported at times when things are getting tough.
“This is just the start of a new approach we are taking to the emotional health and wellbeing of our children and young people in St Helens. We want to ensure that individuals get the help they need and deserve when they need it, along with supporting families and fellow health and education professionals.”
Dr Lynne Green, XenZone’s Chief Clinical Officer, added, “We’re keen for the young people of St. Helens and the wider Merseyside community to engage with Kooth as and when they need it. We would urge them to make the most of the service, whether that’s joining the live forums or accessing the library of self-help articles. With no waiting lists or complicated thresholds to get help, we hope to offer vital early support to children and young people in the area.”
About St Helens CCG
NHS St Helens CCG is a membership organisation made up of 34 GP practices. It covers the geographical area of St Helens which includes the areas Sutton, St Helens, Earlestown, Rainhill, Eccleston, Clock Face, Haydock, Billinge, Rainford and Newton-le-Willows.
NHS St Helens CCG falls entirely within the boundary of St Helens Council and covers a population of approximately 178,000 people with a budget of around £226.3 million.