A new website, designed to improve access to mental health support for young people, has launched across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
www.Kooth.com, a free, confidential counselling service, provides mental health self-help information and support online for people aged between 11 and 19.
Young people can chat to counsellors on the website until 10pm, 365days a year, and join in on forums with young people experiencing similar challenges.
Dr Becky Jones, GP lead for children’s mental health, said: “Seeing the success of this service elsewhere in the country, we’re delighted it’s now available for people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough too.
“One in 10 children and young people aged 5-16, are reported to have a clinically diagnosable mental health problem – that is around three children in every class.
“Often people are too scared to ask for help, so by working with Kooth we hope to tackle the stigma that still surrounds mental health, and encourage young people to get help as early as possible.”
This new online support is working closely with existing services provided locally by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, and the new Keep Your Head website developed by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council public health.
Kooth, provided by mental health experts XenZone, is commissioned by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG through the Mental Health Vanguard.
Vanguard is a national programme to improve emergency care. If successful, the projects trialled in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, including the recently extended 111 service for people in mental health crisis, could be mirrored nationwide.
Funding for the project is non-recurrent so it is vital that a sustainable service model is developed, which can be commissioned longer-term.
For more information on Kooth please visit: www.Kooth.com
For more information on the extended 111 service please visit: www.cpft.nhs.uk/Latest-news/Extended-111-service-will-help-those-in-mental-health-crisis.htm