Kooth, a free online mental health and wellbeing support service, is now available to all 11-25-year-olds living in Portsmouth.
The service has proven popular with 11-18-year-olds with 2,003 young people registering, and over 10,800 logins since the website launched in January 2021.
Kooth enables young people to access mental health support more quickly and provides a safe and anonymous space for those who might not feel confident in accessing traditional face-to-face services.
Young people can chat to Kooth’s helpful team via message or live chat. They can also join conversations on moderated discussion boards, write their own daily journal and read helpful articles featuring personal experiences and tips.
Whether a young person is having a bad day, feeling lonely, or is suffering with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression – Kooth is available to help. Kooth also works closely with other local mental health services and can refer people if they need further support.
Councillor Matthew Winnington, Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care, said: “It’s great news that more young people in Portsmouth can access Kooth and get the mental health support they need and deserve.
“We know the service has already offered much needed support to thousands of young people across the city and I’m delighted that we can extend the offer to young people up to 25 too.”
Councillor Suzy Horton, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, added: “Kooth has been really well received across Portsmouth, and it’s been great to have schools and other local organisations on board to help spread the word. There’s no doubt that the pandemic has had an impact on young people’s mental health, but I hope Kooth can continue to make a real difference to the lives of young people in our city.”
Kooth is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week with counselling available 12-10pm on weekdays and 6-10pm on weekends, all year round. There are no waiting lists or referrals, and young people can register anonymously at www.kooth.com.
Additional guidance to help young people, families and those working with children and young people to identify social, emotional and mental health issues can be found on Portsmouth City Council’s website. It also details when and where to get support from services and has information for young people to read themselves. The guidance can be found at: www.portsmouth.gov.uk/SEMHguidance.
The commissioning of Kooth is in line with Portsmouth’s 2020-2023 Social, Emotional and Mental Health Strategy for children and young people, which includes a focus on ensuring early help is available to support emotional wellbeing and mental health needs. By tackling problems early, this can help to prevent difficulties from escalating and requiring specialist mental health services.