XenZone’s online counselling service, Kooth, has been commissioned by NewcastleGateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to give local young people aged 11-18, and those up to 25 years old in looked after care, access to free, anonymous mental health support.
Kooth gives children and young people access to self-help materials and articles, moderated online forums and peer-to-peer support 365 days a year. It is a safe space online where young people can get help whenever they need it, through any connected device.
The service is now accessed over 1,200 times every hour by young people in more than 80 clinical commissioning areas in the UK.
Professional counsellors are available from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays and 6pm until 10pm on weekends for online counselling sessions.
Chris Piercy, Newcastle Gateshead CCG Executive Director of Nursing, Patient Safety & Quality, said: “We are delighted that young people in Newcastle and Gateshead will now be able to access Kooth. We know that many young people need a bit of extra advice and 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. Evidence shows that getting the right help quickly can prevent mental health and emotional problems escalating and we believe that Kooth will enhance the existing support and services available to young people in Newcastle and Gateshead.”
Elaine Bousfield, founder and chair of XenZone, said, “Digital therapy is so important in supporting a young person’s mental well-being. Online counselling breaks down the barriers some people face, such as stigma and waiting times, when trying to get help. It also complements the great work being done already by face-to-face counsellors and other local support services. We look forward to supporting young people in NewcastleGateshead and would encourage anyone who needs help to register – anonymously and for free – at Kooth.”
XenZone will promote and raise awareness of the service to schools, GPs, local authorities and NHS services to make as many young people, parents, teachers and carers aware of the service.