Young people in Sefton can now benefit from completely free online counselling to help them in their time of need, thanks to a new collaboration from local health and wellbeing partners.
Sefton Council, NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG has commissioned Kooth for young people in the area.
The service will provide free and anonymous mental health and wellbeing support to local young people aged 11-18, with access to online counselling, self-help materials and a safe online community of young people 365 days a year. Support can be found at www.kooth.com
Kooth, accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, also offers peer-to-peer support, an online magazine, access to moderated forums and goal setting and mood tracking tools from any connected device.
The site is open 24 hours a day; one-to-one counselling sessions with a qualified counsellor are available from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm until 10pm on weekends.
The service has been commissioned to increase the number of early intervention services available and in response to young people requesting a digital solution in addition to existing local services.
Councillor John Joseph Kelly, Sefton Council Cabinet Member for Children, Schools and Safeguarding, said “We are delighted that Kooth is now available in Sefton. All children and young people should have access to mental health support when they need it.
“Being able to access good advice, guidance and support via mobile phone, tablet or computer is a great way to help make sure that children and young people can develop positive mental wellbeing.”
Fiona Taylor, chief officer at the CCGs in Sefton, said: “We are proud to be involved with Kooth, it will enhance support for young people with mental health issues in Sefton. We need services such as this to be easily accessible and available at a time when people need it most and this ticks all the boxes.
“We do think it helps being anonymous as some find it hard to speak face to face, this is ideal for people who are perhaps nervous about reaching out and we really do hope it helps them.”
Elaine Bousfield, from Kooth said, said: “We are delighted that we are now able to provide our support and counselling service to young people in Sefton. Digital mental health services like Kooth are beneficial to young people as they are anonymous and free from the stigma some individuals face. We hope through the new commission more young people will seek help for their mental health and wellbeing.”