News 30 August

Kooth set to improve mental health of young people in Devon

A new generation of mental health and emotional well-being care is set to support children and young people in 19 schools across Plymouth.  

Launching in September the service is designed to make sure that every child and young person can access the mental health and emotional well-being support they need. Kooth, from mental health experts XenZone, is a mental health and emotional well-being platform for children and young people aged 11 – 25. The platform is confidential, anonymous and free at the point of use. Users can chat to counsellors up to 10pm, 365 days a year as well as access a wealth of self-help and peer-to-peer support.

This is the first time Plymouth has provided an online counselling platform, which will work alongside face-to-face counselling methods.

Plymouth aim to integrate a number of mental health services to create a blended model that ensures early intervention and stops young people from slipping through the mental health net. Built on the model that’s been met with great enthusiasm and success in Devon, the service sees a partnership between XenZone – which will be delivering the online elements through Kooth – and Young Devon :the charity which will provide face-to-face counselling.

XenZone and Young Devon will also be working with local services and other programmes, including training for school staff delivered by Zone. As part of CAMHs transformation funding, there will also be more CAMHS support in schools and each school will be naming a mental health lead. This connected way of working will see CAMHS referring into Kooth and Young Devon counselling, cutting waiting times. This new way model comes thanks to progressive commissioning by Plymouth Council.

Cllr Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People said “Our Commissioning Strategy for vulnerable children and young people focuses on the need to provide the right care at the right time and young people told us they wanted more support. By working on our priority to co-commission with schools, we have achieved a systems approach to ensure we tackle stigma about mental health and provide early help to young people ‘

Aaron Sefi, Business Development Director at XenZone, said ‘’1 in 10 children and young people across the UK are reported to experience mental health issues and many are too scared to access help. That’s why it’s vital to provide support that speaks their language and gives them a feeling of being in control. Seeing the hugely encouraging uptake of this service in Devon, we’re thrilled to able to roll out a similar innovative, blended service for the children and young people of Plymouth.’’

The service will be well promoted to children across the group of schools, to make sure they get the most out of the support. XenZone and Young Devon will be running a series of assemblies which will help people understand the sort of support they can call on and help make it seem accessible and approachable.

Tim Tod, Chief Executive of Young Devon, commented ‘’This is really exciting, clever commissioning. Early intervention and easy access are essential to the future of services for children and young people. Combine that with a truly connected service, and the children and young people in Plymouth are set to receive the support that should be the right of every young person nationwide.’’