Young people in need of mental health support on the Isle of Wight will be able to take advantage of a new digital service that will allow them to access professional online support.

The Kooth online platform is available for free to Islanders aged 11-25 without the need for a referral and without any threshold being met. This is because a recent study found a sharp increase in the number of people under the age of 18 with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System has commissioned the new service which provides young people with a secure and confidential way to access online support from a team of trained counselors.

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The service, accredited by the British Association for Counseling and Psychotherapy (BACP), is accessible using a computer, smartphone or tablet. It was commissioned following concerns from general practitioners that young people were not meeting the thresholds for specialist CAMHS services, but still needed additional support.

Data recently released by Kooth in the Pulse report from 2021 – highlighted the impact of Covid-19 on the mental health and well-being of children and young people across the UK.

Users will be able to receive one-on-one, anonymous counseling sessions with fully trained and qualified counselors and emotional wellness practitioners, 365 days a year. Sessions run from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and can be booked in advance or viewed as instant text chats.

Children and youth will also have access to peer support via pre-moderated discussion forums and will be able to read and contribute to Kooth’s mental health and wellness magazine. Kooth can also be used to keep an online journal and track your wellness via interactive goal tracking. There are no waiting lists or thresholds, so people can use the service once they register.

Dr Clare Harris, Hampshire GCC Child Protection GP, ​​said:

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“As a general practitioner in Hampshire, I am delighted that patients between the ages of 11 and 25 can now access Kooth. The mental health needs of children and youth have increased dramatically in recent years, and the pandemic has exacerbated this situation. It’s great to have such a positive resource to help our patients improve their mental health and well-being.

Dr Lynne Green added:

“We are delighted to announce that Kooth will now be available for people aged 11 to 25 in Hampshire, Southampton and the Isle of Wight. The pandemic has accelerated the need for additional support services for our young people.

“It is imperative that children receive help at an early stage before their needs escalate, and that they have a place to turn in times of conflict. We encourage young people to get the most out of the services, whether it’s joining the live chat forms or reading the library of articles, while our friendly team of experienced counselors are here to provide support. when needed.

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