Online counselling now available for children and young people in Buckinghamshire

Online counselling now available for children and young people in Buckinghamshire
Online counselling now available for children and young people in Buckinghamshire

Kooth is a new online counselling service supporting young people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health. The online service can help young people avoid the stigma sometimes associated with seeking help.

Oxford Health NHS FT, lead mental health provider in Buckinghamshire, Buckinghamshire County Council and Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group have commissioned XenZone, provider of online counselling services, to give children and young people access to professional mental health counsellors through its online Kooth service.

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.”

Young people aged 11 to 19 register anonymously on the site, which gives them access to drop-in or booked online chats with British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy certified counsellors, psychotherapists and emotional wellbeing practitioners.

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.”

Young people are encouraged to identify goals and monitor progress with their counsellor, charting movement as progress is achieved. The Kooth site is accessible at any time, via any connected device, helping to eliminate the stigma often associated with asking for help. The online counselling team is available on Kooth between mid-day and 10pm on week days and from 6pm until 10pm at weekends.

They also have access to moderated peer to peer support, forums, self-help materials, discussion groups and a mood journal, where they can record their thoughts and feelings. They are encouraged to identify goals and monitor progress with their counsellor, charting movement as progress is achieved. They can also read and contribute to the Kooth online magazine.