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Online mental health support for young people during pandemic

Kooth online help
Free online mental help support
Published: Tuesday, 14th April 2020

Birmingham City Council has commissioned a free online mental health and wellbeing service for young people

  • Birmingham City Council, working with Birmingham Children’s Partnership, commissions Kooth in response to the coronavirus crisis
  • The new Kooth service provides ongoing digital mental health support to around 250,000 young people across Birmingham city
  • Kooth is accessible to all 11-25s in Birmingham, with no referrals, waiting lists or thresholds to meet
  • Kooth is commissioned across more than 140 other NHS areas and is seeing increased demand during the coronavirus outbreak
  • Birmingham City Council has commissioned Kooth, a free, safe and anonymous mental health and wellbeing service for young people. There are no waiting lists, referrals or thresholds to access the service, which is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and delivered by XenZone, the UK’s largest digital mental health provider. 

Kooth gives children and young people the opportunity to access online counselling from qualified counsellors who are available from mid-day to 10pm every weekend day and from 6pm to 10pm at weekends. Young people can drop in for one-to-one instant text-based chats or book a session in advance. The service encourages peer to peer support via moderated discussion forums and self-help through reading or submitting content. Children and young people can write in an online journal and use a goals tracker.

Councillor Kate Booth, Cabinet Member for Children’s Wellbeing said: “Covid-19 is a big challenge for young people in the city, worried about themselves and relatives, concerned about exams, being cancelled, and dealing with the stress of needing to stay at home. The Kooth service for young people is ideal when we need to limit face-to-face contact, with online guidance, chat and counselling alongside the mental health services delivered by Forward Thinking Birmingham.

"The council is working tirelessly with partners to put the right support in place for children, young people and their families.  I’m grateful to Kooth for their quick response so young people can get the mental health help they need now.  This is part of a package of support we are establishing in each neighbourhood to help families and their communities to get through this troubling time.”

Dr Lynne Green, XenZone’s Chief Clinical Officer added, “Children and young people in Birmingham will now be able to access free, anonymous mental health support whenever they need it. The service will help those young people already awaiting assessment and treatment, as well as provide early intervention and support to those children and young people who have worries surrounding the Covid-19 crisis. We are seeing an increasing need for our service and a change in presenting issues from Children and Young People as they struggle to adapt to loneliness and isolation and home relationships. We are delighted to work with Birmingham Children’s Partnership to provide real support during this time and beyond.”

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About Birmingham Children’s Partnership

This is part of the Birmingham Children’s Partnership response to Covid-19 for our families.  Birmingham Children’s Partnership is a collaboration between: Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police, Birmingham Children’s Trust, NHS Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Birmingham & Solihull CCG, and Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.