As lockdown restrictions are slowly easing and we’re now able to catch up with family and friends, many young people in South East London will still be struggling with anxiety and stress as a result of the pandemic.
That’s why, during Mental Health Awareness Week (10-16 May), NHS South East London CCG is encouraging young people aged between 10-25, living in Lambeth, Southwark, Lewisham, Bexley, Bromley, and Greenwich to make use of Kooth – a free, digital mental health and wellbeing support service.
Dr Nancy Kuchemann, clinical lead for mental health for the CCG, said: “During the pandemic and its associated lockdowns, many young people have been under particular pressure.
“Isolation, loneliness, and anxiety brought on by the pandemic have all have added to the stress. Even before COVID-19, one in five young people in South East London were experiencing problems with mental health. They now need this support more than ever, and Kooth offers tangible help for those who are in need.”
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. Qualified counsellors are available on weekdays from midday until 10pm, and from 6pm until 10pm at weekends for booked or drop-in one-to-one therapy.
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. The 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.
Kooth is a valued service because it enables a high volume of young people to be supported via online information such as group forums and digital counselling sessions.