Free online counselling now available for children and young people in Tameside

All children and young people in Tameside and Glossop can now access free online counselling and emotional well-being support from Kooth.

This online platform is for all young people aged 11-18 who may be struggling with their mental health – and particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak.  It 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

It 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 also available 365 days a year and include slots at evenings and weekends.

In Tameside and Glossop children, young people and their families have benefitted from mental health drop-in sessions. The Talk Shop, run by the Anthony Seddon Centre, and The Hive, run by Mind, have been supporting around 70 young people a week.  The Kooth offer adds another element of choice to enable more young children to get advice and get help when they need it.  We know from a recent poll that 91% of the young people who responded said they would use online support.

Kooth has been available in Bolton, Manchester, Oldham, Trafford Rochdale and Wigan for some time and has now been rolled out to cover Bury, Salford, Tameside and Glossop, 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.

Dr Christine Ahmed, NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body member for Starting Well, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has changed all our lives and many people are now experiencing stress and anxiety due to the current situation.

“This online service will help those in need of support who otherwise wouldn’t reach out to family or friends for help.  I encourage people to take up the offer.”

Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Population Health, Councillor Eleanor Wills, said: “Lots of children and young people are finding social distancing measures difficult at this time.

“Kooth offers a wealth of information and resources online. It’s a way to share fears and anxieties with peers as well as providing access to counselling.”

To find out more visit https://hub.gmhsc.org.uk/mental-health/kooth/

To sign up to use Kooth, go to www.kooth.com.

To learn more about mental health developments and to look up information on all the mental health support and services in Tameside and Glossop please go to https://www.tamesideandglossopccg.org/mentalhealthsupport or https://www.tameside.gov.uk/coronavirus/mentalhealth.

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