News 6 November

Buckinghamshire Commissions Kooth for its Young People

Digital mental health pioneer XenZone has been commissioned by Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group and Buckinghamshire County Council to provide its online counselling and emotional wellbeing service, Kooth, to young people in Buckinghamshire. The service, funded by Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, brings anonymous, free and easy access to self-help information, moderated peer-to-peer forums, counsellor messaging and professional online therapy to local children and young people between the ages of 11 and 19 who need mental health support.

Kooth, accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), is available anytime from any connected device 365 days a year.

Children and young people can choose to drop-in or book counselling sessions with experienced therapists who are available for one-to-one text-based chat from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm until 10pm at weekends.

Eleanor Rowsell, clinical lead for children and adolescent mental health psychological services in Buckinghamshire at Oxford Health NHS FT, said: “We are excited to be able to offer this service to young people in Buckinghamshire. Initially it can be difficult to reach out to our services and Kooth is a great way to get support if they don’t feel ready contact us directly.”

Warren Whyte, cabinet member for children’s service for Buckinghamshire County Council, said: “We all know that the emotional health and well-being of our young people is a growing concern and Kooth offers a great way to support those in need. It is very easy to access, confidential and free of charge, and offers help across a range of areas.”

Dr Sian Roberts, mental health and learning disability clinical director for Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We would encourage any young person who may be struggling with their emotional wellbeing or who has any mental health concerns to visit the Kooth website. There is lots of advice available, not to mention the opportunity to have an online conversation with a highly trained counsellor.”

XenZone’s founder, Elaine Bousfield, commented: “Kooth gives young people confidential and anonymous access to support for their mental health whenever and wherever they need it. Our hope is that we are able to reach more children and young people early – at the point at which they may first start to struggle with their mental health. We know that early help can make a huge difference to a young person’s mental wellbeing. We look forward to supporting young people in Buckinghamshire and urge young people in the area to log in if they need support.”