NHS Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has expanded its partnership with digital mental health provider, Kooth across East Berkshire. Every child and young adult aged 10 to 25 living in the East Berkshire boroughs of Bracknell, Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, now has immediate access to safe and confidential digital mental health support outside of the normal 9-5.
Kooth.com has been available to children and young adults aged 11 to 18 in East Berkshire since 2015. By extending Kooth to include those aged 18 to 25, and those aged 10, the NHS Frimley CCG has ensured that children and young adults in the region can also access the right care for them, as and when needed.
Kooth.com is a welcoming place for children and young people to seek non-judgemental professional mental health support. The service is free and anonymous, with no waiting list or thresholds to qualify for support. Kooth works alongside existing NHS services, providing a safe space for accessing therapeutic activities and content, a peer support community, and live text chat and messaging with Kooth's team of practitioners. Once registered Kooth.com can be accessed via any internet-connected device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet.
Tracey Faraday-Drake, Director for Children and Young People at NHS Frimley CCG, explained: “We’ve experienced first-hand the positive impact Kooth.com has had on the mental health of children and young people aged 11 to 18. Being safe, accessible and confidential has been an important factor helping to reduce the stigma that’s often associated with mental health. This has encouraged those experiencing any mental health concern to seek support that matches their needs. As a result we wanted to extend our offering to all young adults aged 18 to 25, and children aged 10. We look forward to seeing the impact Kooth will have on young adults in East Berkshire.”
Dr Lynne Green, Chief Clinical Officer at Kooth, commented: “It’s not always easy to reach out and ask for help at any age, but especially when you are a child or young adult. This is where a digital platform, such as Kooth, can help. Having access to early intervention services that are anonymous and safe, can help combat the stigma and prevent certain problems escalating. They can also aid in the reduction of the severity and duration of any potential mental health illness.
“By ensuring every child and young adult aged 10 to 25 now has access to 24/7 support, NHS Frimley CCG has really raised the bar when weekdays and from 6pm to 10pm on the weekend. Appointments can be booked in advance or accessed via a drop-in text-based chat.
In addition, self-help articles, forums, and discussion boards are also available - with content that is appropriate for the relevant age groups and is moderated and approved by medical experts. Kooth users can keep an online journal and monitor their wellbeing via an interactive goal tracker.