Kooth, a safe and anonymous wellbeing service for children and young people (CYP), is launching in Scotland.

Kooth is the UK’s leading digital mental health provider and our services are available to over six million CYP in the UK. We are delighted that CYP in a number of areas of Scotland will soon be able to benefit from Kooth services, through local authority and Health Board commissioning.

Kooth, a British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy accredited service, provides a safe and non-judgemental place for young people to connect with others and be empowered to access a range of support. They have instant access to self-help materials, live moderated discussion forums and tools such as online journals, wellbeing activities and goal trackers. Young people can also contribute written pieces reflecting their own experiences, as well as accessing drop-in or booked sessions with professional counsellors until 10pm 365 days a year.

2020 data from Kooth has shown the psychological toll the Covid-19 pandemic is taking. It is particularly concerning to note that in the past year the proportion of CYP presenting with issues around loneliness has increased by 45%, suicidal thoughts have increased by 31.3% and self-harm by 24.2%. We have also seen an increase in issues that were previously much rarer for our users, including problems with sleeping, body image and eating difficulties, which are now seen in 9% of Kooth users. We have responded to this by increasing our capacity and ability to support, through increasing our workforce, bespoke additional training and delivering further tailored content.

Providing anonymous and safe online support for Scotland’s young people offers an opportunity to deliver on many of the key priorities identified by the Mental Health Taskforce and the recommendations of Scotland’s Youth Commission including delivering person-centred support, early intervention and prevention, offering choice and services that are available outside of 9-5. Kooth data and insights demonstrates that our services are able to support cohorts of CYP who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic including minority ethnic groups, looked-after children, LGBTQ+ and young carers.

Kooth will be launched via local campaigns presenting directly to CYP in schools as well as to professionals including teachers, GPs and CAMHs staff. We will also be raising awareness through social media, utilising campaigns such as our recent #DontDoItAlone resources which encouraged CYP to connect with others about their emotional wellbeing and mental health.