All children and young people in Greater Manchester can now access free online counselling and emotional well-being support.
From Tuesday 14 April, the Kooth online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform will be available to any young person who may be struggling with their mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Kooth is for young people aged 11-18 and offers a variety of resources, including:
- A live chat function that allows young people to contact a qualified counsellor
- Chat forums with other young people
- Crisis information
- Self help resources
Kooth provides information and support along with treatment for children and young people with a range of mental health problems. Scheduled and drop in counselling sessions are available 365 days a year and include slots at evenings and weekends.
Already available in Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Trafford and Wigan, it’s now being rolled out to cover Bury, Salford, Tameside and Stockport. This expansion has been brought forward in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The expansion of Kooth is part of a Greater Manchester wide programme of new digital services and online support launched on Monday 6 April. Mental health services are facing new challenges and coming under additional pressure due to the COVID-19 outbreak as they try to support those already accessing services and deal with new cases, whilst managing the impact on their staffing levels. This new package of support aims to help people to stay well, reducing the need for them to attend GP practices or hospitals. It can be accessed by those with existing mental health issues as well as anyone who may be struggling due to social distancing and self-isolation restrictions.
Warren Heppolette, executive lead for strategy and system development, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said:
“The outbreak of covid-19 has brought rapid changes to all of our lives and it will be a stressful and anxious time for many. For children and young people, social distancing measures could make it harder to reach out to friends and many may find it hard to open up to close family members. Kooth offers a wealth of information and resources and, most importantly, a way to share fears and anxieties with peers as well as providing access to counselling if needed – all without leaving the house.”
To find out more and sign up to use Kooth, go to www.kooth.com.