Young people from South East London’s LGBT+ community have experienced an array of mental health problems resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
NHS South East London CCG is highlighting the problem during Pride Month (1st-29th June) by signposting you to Kooth – the UK’s leading provider of digital mental health support for young people.
Anyone under the age of 26 can access mental wellbeing support via Kooth – a free and anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing service.
The LGBT Foundation helpline received 25 percent more calls about suicidal thoughts during lockdown, and many younger LGBT+ people reported they were affected by being confined with unsupportive or bigoted relatives during lockdown.
Dr Nancy Kuchemann, GP and Clinical Lead for Mental Health at NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Many young people in the LGBT+ community have experienced profound stress during the Covid-19 pandemic, compounded by the loss of peer support.
“Discrimination surrounding their sexuality has worsened because LGBT+ people have found themselves in home environments that they haven’t been able to escape from.
“And even though we’re now coming out of lockdown, the mental consequences of the pandemic are long-lasting, and that’s why those who have been adversely affected should seek support. Pride Month gives us an opportunity to focus on the emotional wellbeing of our young LGBT+ residents.”
Every year, during the month of June, Pride is celebrated in a number of different ways. Across the globe, various events are held during this special month as a way of recognising the influence LGBT+ people have had around the world.
Kooth is open to all young people in South East London, irrespective of sexual orientation. They can access free counselling sessions from qualified counsellors via an online chat-based platform.
Chats can either be accessed through a drop-in service or pre-booked sessions from any connected device. The site is open 24 hours a day and one-to-one counselling sessions with an accredited therapist are available from 12noon until 10pm on weekdays, and from 6-10pm on weekends.
Kooth is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and is available online, offering free and safe access to self-help materials, mood-tracking, online journal and goal setting tools and a moderated online community of peers. Young people can also contribute to the Kooth magazine and share their experiences or take part in moderated online peer-to-peer forums.
Access is free of the typical barriers to support: no waiting lists, no thresholds, no cost and complete anonymity.
The service complements existing mental health support that exists in South London, delivered by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust and the local voluntary sector. This transformational digital mental health support service gives children and young people easy access to an online community of peers and a team of experienced counsellors.