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Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commisioning Group

Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commisioning Group

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NHS launches online counselling for young people in Newcastle and Gateshead

Children and young people in Newcastle and Gateshead can now access support from mental health counsellors using a free online service supported by the NHS.

Kooth.com is an award-winning online counselling and support service which is now available to all young people in Newcastle and Gateshead aged 11-18, thanks to investment by NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The service is also offered to young people in Looked After Care until they are 25 years old.

Professional counsellors are available at kooth.com from noon to 10pm on weekdays and 6 – 10pm at weekends. The confidential service offers both drop-in and booked online chats with psychotherapists and counsellors as well as life forums, self-help articles and peer support.

The service will work closely with existing mental health services in the area, including face-to-face counselling services. Kooth.com is also available in neighbouring North Tyneside.

Chris Piercy, Executive Director of Nursing, Patient Safety and Quality at NHS Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Many young people need a bit of extra advice and support for difficulties in their lives, and we know that getting the right help quickly can make a big difference. Young people tend to look for things online first, so it makes sense to have trained counsellors and advice easily available when they do.

“This is a safe, confidential and anonymous way for young people to get the help they need, alongside a range of support already available to young people in Newcastle and Gateshead.”

Young people can use the service anonymously by visiting www.kooth.com, which is already used more than 1,200 times every hour by young people in more than 80 areas nationwide.

XenZone, which provides the Kooth service for the NHS, will promote the service to schools, GPs, councils and other NHS services to ensure young people, parents, teachers and carers are aware of it.

Elaine Bousfield, Chair of XenZone, said: “We believe mental health support should be free and easily accessible for everyone. We look forward to working with other services in Newcastle and Gateshead to provide mental health and wellbeing support to children and young people.”