As we enter exam season, young people in Hertfordshire who are feeling overwhelmed can get free online counselling and support at Kooth.com.
Anyone aged between 10 and 25 and registered with a Hertfordshire GP surgery can sign up anonymously and have an online chat with a fully-trained therapist. Counsellors can help with lots of different problems, including test-related stress, family problems, eating disorders, loneliness, bullying, anxiety and depression.
“There is no shame in asking for support during hard times like exam season or if your parents split up,” said 18 year old Youth Health Ambassador for Healthwatch Hertfordshire, Frankie Walsh. “You can use your phone or tablet to get emotional support and even chat online with an expert who can help in complete confidence.”
Kooth’s counsellors are available until 12noon-10pm from Monday-Friday and 6pm-10pm at the weekend, 365 days a year. Users can also talk to other young people anonymously on the moderated forums whenever they like and keep an online journal.
East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Herts Valleys CCG and Hertfordshire County Council worked in partnership to commission Kooth in March.
Young people who have already used the service have given good feedback, including one teenager saying: “I've liked being able to discuss things with you and get some ideas on how to start better controlling my anxiety. It's been useful.”
Watford GP Dr Rami Eliad, who leads on services for children and young people for Herts Valleys CCG, said: “In my experience, anxiety often begins when you think about revising. It can feel overwhelming. By logging on and chatting online with Kooth’s counsellors, young people can ease their concerns and get some good advice about beating exam stress.”
“I know that for many people, exams are the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” said Dr Steve Kite, a Ware GP who leads on services for children and young people for East and North Hertfordshire CCG. “By going online at www.Kooth.com you can get counselling, advice and support immediately. It’s free and anonymous.”
There are some top exam survival tips here: http://bit.ly/1NkIBOx
Hertfordshire’s plan to improve emotional wellbeing services for children and young people received £2m national funding. One of the transformation plan’s priorities is to focus on prevention and early intervention, giving children and young people good emotional and wellbeing support. You can read Hertfordshire’s Transformation Plan for Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Wellbeing 2015-17 here.