The online service gives young people aged between 11 to 18 access to professional online counsellors along with moderated forums and self-help materials.
Together for Children, which provides Sunderland’s children’s services and Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group have commissioned Kooth, an online counselling and emotional well-being platform for children and young people that is accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop and free at the point of use.
Access is free of the typical barriers to support. There are no waiting lists, no cost to the young person and it’s completely anonymous.
Jill Colbert, Chief Executive of Together for Children, said: “We know that many of our children and young people want support, advice and guidance to support their emotional health and Kooth is a fantastic way to reach them quickly and easily. Kooth is a great addition to our Early Help services and will really help the children and young people we support in Together for Children.”
Kooth is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and is available online, offering free and safe access to self-help materials, mood-tracking, online journal and goal setting tools and a moderated online community.
Qualified counsellors are available weekdays from mid-day until 10pm and from 6pm until 10pm at weekends for booked or drop-in one-to-one therapy.
Dr Ian Pattison, clinical chair from NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We want to make sure that children and young people across Sunderland have access to the health services that are right for them.
“Kooth is a fantastic resource for children and young people who are going through a hard time and want to access support. It is confidential, simple to use, free to access and available in a way that is convenient to the young people using it.
“Self-referral services like Kooth make it much easier to get the help you need and to take away the stigma that some people face in getting mental health support.”
Anyone concerned about a child or young person who may be experiencing difficulties will still be able to contact the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) on 0191 566 5500.
Photo caption: Jill Colbert, Chief Executive of Together for Children with David Gallagher, Chief Officer of Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group and young people involved in the Kooth project