Birmingham launches free online counselling service for young people

Tool from specialist firm XenZone offers web-based counselling

Credit: Tony Hisgett/CC BY 2.0

Birmingham City Council has commissioned a free online mental health support service for young people in the city.

The authority is offering citizens aged 11 to 25 access to the Kooth platform, which offers a text-based online counselling service from 12pm to 10pm on weekdays, and 6pm to 10pm on weekends. The service, which is run by accredited professionals, can be accessed on demand or via pre-booked sessions.

Kooth also provides means and encouragement for users to support one another through moderated discussion boards, as well as offering self-help tools such as guided reading, journals, and tracking of personal goals.

The council estimated that the provision of the service, which is accessed anonymously and for which “there are no waiting lists, referrals or thresholds to access”, will potentially benefit 250,000 children and young adults across the second city.

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Councillor Kate Booth, cabinet member for children’s wellbeing said: “Covid-19 is a big challenge for young people in the city, worried about themselves and relatives, concerned about exams, being cancelled, and dealing with the stress of needing to stay at home. The Kooth service for young people is ideal when we need to limit face-to-face contact, with online guidance, chat and counselling alongside the mental health services delivered by Forward Thinking Birmingham.”

She added: “The council is working tirelessly with partners to put the right support in place for children, young people and their families. I’m grateful to Kooth for their quick response so young people can get the mental health help they need now.  This is part of a package of support we are establishing in each neighbourhood to help families and their communities to get through this troubling time.”

The Kooth tool was developed by digital mental health specialist firm XenZone.


Sam Trendall

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