New health programme launched for young people in Northumberland after pandemic 'accelerated the need for more services'
A new service has been launched to provide young people in Northumberland with access to support for their mental health and wellbeing.
Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has commissioned the Kooth service to provide free, anonymous and safe support for 11 to 25-year-olds in the county.
Kooth is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and requires no referrals, thresholds or waiting lists.
It allows young people to access a range of tools, resources and activities, including online discussion boards, reading and contributing to self-help articles, daily goal trackers and an online journal.
The service has recently launched an online activity hub which provides activities that young people can do at home to help them manage mental health or wellbeing challenges.
Online counselling is also available on Kooth, with qualified counsellors available through an online chat service. Sessions can be booked in advance or accessed sooner through a drop-in service between noon and 10pm on weekdays and 6pm and 10pm on weekends.
Kate O’Brien, senior head of commissioning for child health, learning disabilities and mental health at the CCG, said: “We’re so excited to be commissioning Kooth as part of our services in Northumberland.
“We know how important it is to have mental-health support in place for young people to help them at an early stage before problems escalate.
“The recent pandemic has further accelerated the need for more services and given the rural landscape of Northumberland, Kooth really fits in with the needs of our young people – especially those who are shielding who may be feeling isolated at home. It really gives them an outlet to share their thoughts and experiences with those in similar situations.”
The CCG will now be working with communities to raise awareness of the new service.
Dr Lynne Green, chief clinical officer of XenZone, which runs Kooth, said: “Our recent data has shown young people in the North East are especially struggling with sleep, sadness and loneliness during the pandemic.
“Our clinical content team are working hard to ensure there are plenty of articles and discussions within the service that can support young people in managing these issues.”