kooth (A guide and review)

In this brief guide we’ll be discussing the mental health online service called Kooth.

We will be exploring the development of Kooth, the services provided, and the confidentiality aspect of this mental health service. 

What is Kooth?

Kooth is a provider of online mental health services for children, young people especially for young people who are of the school going and college attending age. 

Kooth is a BACP(British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.) accredited service and also an NHS provider of mental health services and created by xenxone.

Xenzone is a mental health service provider for over 17 years for young children mainly through connecting those who are in need of mental health help to the appropriate providers of such help including mental health counsellors, therapists and clinical psychologists.

The Kooth platform was launched in 2014 and is a free, safe, and importantly anonymous platform that provides support for the emotional well-being of children and youths as well as counselling services by licensed professionals.

Kooth.com is commissioned by the NHS, Local Authorities, charities and businesses to provide anonymous mental health support for Children and Young People who are of school going age. 

As of recently, the services also extend to students during vacations when they might feel isolated and alone when they are away from their friends and classmates. The Service also has an app that allows them to access these services from a mobile, tablet and desktop.

According to the information on Xenzone the parent organisation of Kooth, the services under kooth aren’t just available to people online but are available through universities and councils as they have been commissioned in over 80 Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) areas.

How was Kooth Developed?

Kooth is a service platform under XenZone which was deevloped in 2001 by Elaine Bousfield who wanted to explore how mental healths ervcies could be provided online. 

On the 4th March, 2004, XenZone launched Kooth.com in partnership with Stockport Local Authority and Stockport NHS Primary Care Trust to deliver online services to children and young people.

In 2006 Kooth.com expanded to 8 local authorities and NHS, garnering 16 contracts across England by 2011.  As of 2020 XenZone becomes Kooth Plc – the first digital health services company to float on the London Stock Exchange.

What Services does Kooth provide?

The services provided by Kooth is to help young people develop mental resilience and emotional stability and well being. 

The services of Kooth are provided either in person though various institutional councils where kooth and student bodies have tied up or through their online platform. 

Kooth does not focus on any single specific therapy model for all individuals. The platform offers a range of different treatment options with a range of tools, resources and activities while also offering the user varied choices so that they can determine what works best for them. 

Counselling services via one to one, online chats and emails, online calls and telephone calls covering the issues related to 

  • Relationships
  • Bullying
  • Eating disorders
  • Self-harm
  • General health

The Kooth services also include psychoeducational programs and materials that can be accessed free on their platform any time of the day or night. However the counselling services that are live often work during typical afterhours that allows flexibility to students who attend classes.

The kooth platform is available from Monday to Friday between 12 pm and 10 pm. On Saturday and Sunday, the Kooth service is available from 6 pm to 10 pm. 

This means there are Kooth counsellors who are online on the Kooth community who can help you between these times when they are available.

What can you do on the Kooth Platform?

Aside from various offline services the kooth services are also extended on to their online platform that can be accessed through their app or their website. 

The platform is free of charge and is managed by Xenzone. The platform also allows you to remain anonymous without having to disclose personal information. 

On Kooth platform you can:

  • Chat to the counsellors who are on the Kooth platform
  • Read articles which are written by young people and peers
  • Access the community forum where you can interact with other people who are logged in on the Kooth community. These may be different people who are battling their own mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, loneliness 
  • Keep a journal of your day to day activities so you can review them later to see how you have progressed.

The platform also allows you to see various updates on the forum, follow thread, set goals, follow your own progress, and also journal your progress. The platform also provides you with blogs written by approved community members on the Kooth platform, start a chat with the counsellors, answer a questionnaire about your day, see updates from other community members and interact with those members.

Who are the counsellors on the Kooth platform?

The counsellors that are present on Kooth to provide counselling services vary in their level of experience and qualification.

These counsellors are qualified professionals who have gone through some level of accreditation or have a diploma in the field and often vary in qualifications while holding certifications, diplomas, and licencing for psychotherapeutic counselling from recognized associations. 

To work as a kooth counsellor you will be required to have a relevant professional qualification recognised by BACP, UKCP or something equivalent with an accreditation-eligibility in counselling or psychotherapy at diploma level or above as well as minimum of 2-3 years’ experience of providing mental health support to young people 10-25yrs in face to face or digital settings.

Is Kooth Confidential?

Confidentiality is a very important thing for people who avail mental health services because of their own preferences as well as because of the stigma surrounding mental illness and psychotherapy and counselling.

Confidentiality is another concern because most of the people who use these services are youths who might not want their family and guardians to know about their mental health status. 

Kooth provides a high level of confidentiality to its users who may mostly be minors and the data is stored anonymously without sharing it with any other third party members.

While all details and counselling information are kept confidential there are some cases where confidentiality must be overlooked and these cases include:

  • your life is at risk because of something you are doing
  • you are at risk from somebody else
  • you are a risk to somebody else.

In these scenarios, they will ask you for your contact details and will then refer you to the service which they see fit for your circumstances.

Conclusion

In this brief guide we have discussed the mental health online service called Kooth.

We have also discussed the development of Kooth, the services provided, and the confidentiality aspect of this mental health service. 

References 

Kooth Service Available Throughout School Holidays. Xenzone. 8th August 2021. Retrieved on 29th November 2021. 

What is Kooth? The surge. Retrieved on 29th november 2021.https://www.thesource.me.uk/health/kooth/

FAQ about Kooth

Is Kooth a good service?

Kooth has been dubbed by their users as a good service where 94% of their users states that they would recommend Kooth to a friend. 

Can adults use Kooth?

Adults above the age of 18 cannot use kooth but they have an alternative choice of accessing Qwell which provide online peer support communities, access self-help materials or engage in drop-in or booked one-to-one online chat sessions with experienced counsellors.

How safe is Kooth?

Kooth is a safe and anonymous online chat and emotional wellbeing service for youths whose details are kept confidential and the services provided are by trained individuals. 

What times are Kooth online?

Kooth is anonymous and free at the point of use-  Online counselling is available from mid-day until 10pm on weekdays and from 6pm until 10pm at weekends. Self-help materials and other support features are available anytime.

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