NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (BNSSG CCG) has commissioned XenZone’s online counselling service, Kooth, giving local children and young people aged 11-19 access to free, anonymous mental health and emotional well-being support.
Kooth offers access to self-help materials, mood-tracking and goal setting tools, counsellor messaging and peer-to-peer support through moderated online forums. The forums address issues that range from exam stress and depression to self-harm and relationship problems.
Qualified counsellors are available to support any child or young person in one-to-one sessions, from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm until 10pm on weekends.
Kooth is available across the area for an initial 12-month period.
Dr David Soodeen, Mental Health Clinical Lead at the CCG, said, “Kooth is a fantastic resource for children and young people who are going through a difficult time. It’s not a replacement for face-to-face talking therapies, but provides another way for young people to get support quickly and anonymously. It’s already helping young people in Bristol and North Somerset, and I’m very pleased it’s now available in South Gloucestershire too.”
XenZone founder Elaine Bousfield said: “Every child and young person deserves free and easy access to mental health support. The online nature of Kooth means that all young people can access support, free from the waiting lists and stigma that many face when seeking help. We hope through Kooth that more young people in the South Gloucestershire region access early support for their mental health and emotional wellbeing.”
Kooth is now available to children and young people in more than 95 Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas, and receives more than 1,500 log-ins every day.