Kooth Online Counselling Service Now Available to Children and Young People in Southend, Essex and Thurrock

Young People Kooth

Digital Therapy for 11-26 Year Olds is Free at the Point of Use

XenZone, pioneer of online counselling and support, has been commissioned by the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Collaborative Commissioning Group (comprising the seven Essex CCGs, Essex County Council and Southend and Thurrock Borough Councils) to provide ‘drop-in’ online counselling to children and young people across Southend, Essex, and Thurrock from the age of 11 up until their 26th birthday.

XenZone’s Kooth service, which will be piloted for a year, has no waiting lists, giving young people free and timely access to professional counsellors.

The Kooth commission is central to many aims set out in the transformation plan for the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people in Southend Essex and Thurrock. These include improving access and equality, integrating services, and building resilience. It also adheres to the principles outlined in the plan, which cover early action, reducing stigma and joining-up services.

Kooth will give children and young people unlimited access to professional online counsellors, moderated forums, self-help materials and a mood journal, where they can record their thoughts and feelings. Young people are encouraged to identify their own 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.

Deborah Fielding, Chief Officer, West Essex CCG, said “The commissioners across Southend, Essex and Thurrock welcome the opportunity to work with Kooth on this exciting new service development, which will increase the professional help available to children and young people, complement existing service provision, and provide choice and an early response to additional support in a way that young people find easy to access.”

As a core part of the service, XenZone will promote awareness of Kooth to schools, colleges, GPs and other local mental health services. The team will run workshops and assemblies in schools as needed. These may focus on specific issues, such as exam stress, bullying or emotional resilience.

Elaine Bousfield, chair and founder of XenZone, said: “Early access to support is vital in addressing low level issues so that they don’t escalate. Kooth is easily and instantly accessible, and therefore more likely to be used by children and young people who need help. We look forward to working closely with all of the commissioners in Essex in integrating Kooth into existing CAMHS and making a positive difference to the lives of young people in this area.”