North Tyneside Council and North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) have commissioned XenZone’s Kooth service, giving local young people aged between 11 and 18 access to free online counselling. As well as offering timely access to therapy, the 18-month pilot will provide anonymous, confidential and access to self-help materials, articles, moderated online forums and tools such as a mood tracker.
Through the commission, North Tyneside Council hopes to provide support for young people who are harder to reach and to those who may not feel comfortable getting face-to-face support.
Professional Kooth counsellors are now available between 12 noon and 10pm on weekdays and between 6pm and 10pm at weekends. The service will be promoted and integrated into existing support systems; awareness-raising will be done via school and college visits and workshops.
Wendy Burke, North Tyneside Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “We are delighted that young people in North Tyneside will now be able to access Kooth. We know that many young people just need a bit of extra support for what may be short-term difficulties in their lives. Having qualified counsellors and advice for our young people to access online is an innovative way to make support more easily available. All the evidence shows that getting the right help quickly can prevent mental health problems from escalating and we believe that Kooth will enhance the existing support and services available to young people in North Tyneside.”
Elaine Bousfield, Chair and Founder of XenZone said, “We believe mental health support should be free and easily accessible for everyone. We look forward to working closely and integrating with other services in North Tyneside to provide mental health and wellbeing support to children and young people.”