Help at hand for anyone stressed or anxious during Covid-19 outbreak
Counselling help through the NHS is just a click away for young people in North Tyneside, after a successful online service was extended.
Since 2018, the award-winning Kooth service has provided online counselling and support for young people in North Tyneside aged between 11 and 18.
Now NHS North Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which plans and buys most healthcare services in the area, has made the service available to young people up to the age of 25.
Dr Richard Scott, a local GP and the CCG’s Chair, said: “The Covid-19 outbreak means this can be a stressful and anxious time for young people, and Kooth is safe, confidential way for young people to get help if they need it, alongside a range of other support available locally.
“At difficult moments, being able to find the right support quickly and easily makes all the difference, and for many young people, the internet is the first place to look for help. The service works closely with other mental health services in the area.”
Professional counsellors are available at kooth.com from noon to 10pm on weekdays and 6 – 10pm at weekends. The confidential service focuses on problems like low mood and anxiety, relationships, bullying, eating disorders and self-harm, as well as general health concerns.
Young people can choose an instant messaging chat session with a friendly counsellor, get support from through moderated online forums or message a counsellor. There’s also the chance to read or write for an online magazine or use a range of self-help tools.
Young people can use the service anonymously by visiting www.kooth.com. The service receives more than 2,000 log-ins from young people every day in more than 140 areas across the UK, including neighbouring Newcastle and Gateshead.
Positive feedback from young people is one of the reasons why the CCG chose to extend the service, with 90% of children and young people who used Kooth saying they would recommend it to a friend.
Jessie, 12, said: “It means a lot to know Kooth is there, even if others can’t be,” while 17 year-old Harry offered his thanks, saying “It’s really helped to feel like a weight has been lifted.”
Another anonymous user said: “Kooth is the most helpful support website I think I’ll ever find. When I first started I wasn’t sure if it was a good idea but as soon as I found the right counsellor for me, I finally felt like I had someone to talk to and someone who really understood me.”
The Kooth service is provided for the NHS by XenZone. The company’s Chief Clinical Officer, Dr Lynne Green, said: “We’re so pleased to be able to extend Kooth in North Tyneside. I’d encourage children and young people locally to log in to Kooth for anything that may be troubling them, no matter how big or small.”
To help anyone aged over 16 in North Tyneside, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has made Silvercloud, an online therapy tool, free to use for the next 12 months. It’s available 24/7 on your computer, tablet or mobile phone.
If you are in distress, you can call the Samaritans free at any time, from any phone, on 116 123.