A new digital mental health support website for children and young adults is now available in Barnsley. The free service is available immediately to those aged 11-25 via www.kooth.com.
The Kooth website is available to those aged 11+ across all of the South Yorkshire region, offering a safe and welcoming place to seek confidential and non-judgemental professional help for any mental health concern.
A key priority for NHS South Yorkshire's Mental Health Strategy is to improve children and young people’s access to mental health support. Kooth is available seven days per week, 365 days a year and is designed to work alongside other local mental health services.
The service gives local children and young people access to one-to-one text based sessions with experienced counsellors and wellbeing practitioners. Running from midday to 10pm on 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, Kooth gives users 24/7 access to a fully safeguarded and pre-moderated community. It includes a library of content created by Kooth professionals - and contributed by young people on the platform - as well as discussion forums and activities, such as goal setting and journaling.
There are no waiting lists or thresholds to meet, and does not need a referral from a GP. It is instantly accessible, once the user is registered, through an internet-connected smartphone, tablet or computer.
Dr Madhavi Guntamukkala, Chief Medical Officer for Barnsley at NHS South Yorkshire explained: “At NHS South Yorkshire, we are working hard to ensure that people of all ages have access to professional, age-appropriate mental health and wellbeing services when and how they need them. However, we are fully aware that there is simply not a ‘one-size fits all’ approach when it comes to mental health support and care, especially for children and young adults.
“Extending the Kooth service into Barnsley we are providing the children and young people in the town with mental health care that works for them. The Kooth website ensures that safe, confidential and free digital mental health services are a mere one click, or tap away for children and young adults across Barnsley.”
“When you are a child or young adult it’s not always easy to ask for help and support with mental health concerns. It’s our mission to ensure that all children and young people have access to timely and effective mental health care based on their individual preferences and needs. We still have a long way to go, but forward-thinking ICBs such as South Yorkshire are helping to pave the way.
“Digital mental health services such as Kooth can provide the much-needed piece of the mental health care puzzle for NHS ICBs. As in Barnsley, we can offer children and young people anonymous and safe digital support, and with a choice of services that are available around the clock. Our team of experienced practitioners and professional counsellors can provide support and care at a range of levels. No matter the issue or situation, Kooth is here to help.”