Counselling and wellbeing support for young people extended as a result of coronavirus

More support will be available for young people Picture: NEWSCAST ONLINE

More support will be available for young people Picture: NEWSCAST ONLINE - Credit: Archant

A free online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service has been extended to help more young people in Suffolk.

The service, known as Kooth, was launched across the county on October 10 last year – World Mental Health Day – to provide support to young people aged between 11 and 18-years-old.

However thanks to its success and the outbreak of the coronavirus it has now been extended to all young adults up to the age of 25.

Since going live the service has been accessed over 3,100 times, with 97% of the youngsters who used it saying they would recommend it to a friend.

Kooth provides support from a team of qualified counsellors.

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Young people can drop in for one-to-one instant text-based chats or book a session in advance.

It also offers access to moderated online forums, opportunities to read and contribute to self-help articles and access to tools such as journals and goal trackers.

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The service can be used anonymously is open seven days a week, 365 days a year from noon until 10pm weekdays and from 6pm until 10pm on Saturday and Sundays.

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Dr John Hague, mental health lead for the NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, said: “Young people are more susceptible than most to the challenges and pressures of an ever-changing and complex world at the best of times.

“The country is now in the grip of a pandemic that has had a huge impact on their lives and their ability to share their problems with their friends and peers, so now is the ideal time to extend access to this excellent online service.”

James Reeder, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Public Health and Prevention, said: “We are living in unprecedented times and it must be very frightening for a lot young people right now.

“Not everyone has the benefit of being able to talk things through with their parents, other family members or friends and that is why Kooth is such an invaluable asset.

“I am delighted that together with our partners from the CCGs we have been able to extend access to the service to even more people in these worrying times.”

There are no waiting lists or thresholds for young people to use the service, which has been commissioned across more than 140 NHS areas and is seeing increased demand during the coronavirus outbreak.

You can access Kooth here.

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