News 4 March

Kooth Data Shows Anxiety and Stress are Top Mental Health Issues for Students Choosing Online Counselling

Kooth Student, the online mental health support service, releases 12 months of data from three universities in England

Kooth Student, the online mental health and wellbeing support service from XenZone, has today released data showing anxiety and stress was the most common presenting issue in more than 600 online counselling sessions held with students at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), Leeds Beckett University and Northumbria University over a recent 12 month period.

Of the almost 2,000 students registered with Kooth Student, more than 600 opted for online counselling sessions of which 32% presented with anxiety and stress. 

Over this period, the service has seen a rise in referrals from academic staff due to increased promotion, integration and education across the institutions for academic and pastoral staff. There were 30 referrals in the first academic term, increasing to 196 referrals in the final term.

Activity on the site, which gives students anonymous, timely and free access to self-help articles, online tools – such as an online journal – and interactive counsellor messaging, is mainly focused around reading, creating and commenting on articles. 64% also participate in live discussion forums.

There has been an increase in the average number of instant chat sessions students are having with counsellors, from two to three per student. 

Data also reveals a relatively high proportion (22%) of those accessing the service identifying as black, Asian or minority ethnic.  

Once registered, students can choose to set specific goals they want to achieve. They can mark their progress against those goals by assigning a score out of ten. The average goal movement for students was 6.62.

Of those on the site, 35% messaged a professional; just under a quarter (24%) went on to have one or more online counselling sessions, with 15% having five or more sessions. 

Additional findings:

  • The top three presenting issues for women choosing one-to-one counselling were 1) anxiety/stress, 2) depression and 3) university issues

  • For men having one-to-one counselling, the top three presenting issues were 1) anxiety/stress, 2) depression and 3) relationships

  • For the 2% of students identifying as agender or gender fluid and choosing one-to-one counselling, the top three presenting issues were: 1) anxiety/stress, 2) health anxiety and 3) trauma

  • 61% of registered students access the site out of office hours; the peak time on the site is between 6 – 8pm on weekdays

  • 89% of students registered on Kooth Student responding to our survey would recommend the service to a friend

According to Dr Lynne Green, XenZone’s chief clinical officer, “Students are under huge pressure. In addition to well-documented financial plus emotional/stress related pressures, there are also delays in UCAS offers for new students, while existing students are trying to manage the impact of faculty strikes. The need to provide accessible and timely help has never been clearer. My hope is that we start to provide help to students in a way they are more likely to access and use whatever stage they may be at – and which ultimately gives them autonomy over their journey towards better mental health and wellbeing.”