New online youth counselling service

New online youth counselling service

A top Southwark doctor is backing a new free, safe and anonymous online counselling support service for young people.

Writing in Southwark News, Dr Jonty Heaversedge, a GP at Manor Place Surgery and Chair of NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), has lent his support to new service Kooth. Manor Place Surgery is minutes from Elephant Park, just off the Walworth road.

An estimated 17 per cent of 17 to 19-year-olds experienced a mental disorder, according to NHS Digital, and experts believe that these can start from a younger age with a 2017 study finding that one in eight 5 to 19-year-olds had at least one mental disorder.

Kooth, from accredited NHS technology provider XenZone, is a free online counselling and emotional wellbeing platform for children and young people, accessible through mobile, tablet and desktop.

Anyone aged between 11 and 19 years old can log onto for confidential support 365 days a year, with experienced counsellors available to talk, one on one, Monday to Friday noon-10pm and Saturday and Sunday 6-10pm.

“Good mental health and wellbeing is essential for leading a fulfilling and enjoyable life,” said Dr Heaversedge. “While people can be affected by mental illness at any point in their lives – and for a whole variety of reasons – we know that most has its origins in childhood, with 50 per cent of all disorders emerging before the age of 14.”

“Consequently, we want to recognise and tackle mental health and wellbeing issues early in life,” he added. “The sooner these are addressed, the greater the likelihood that problems in adulthood can be reduced.”

Kooth offers young people free and safe access to various self-help materials, mood-tracking and goal-setting tools, counsellor messaging and peer-to-peer support via moderated online forums – which address issues ranging from exam stress and depression, to self-harm and relationship problems.

“This is a fantastic tool for young people, and complements the range of services already available to help improve their mental health and wellbeing – providing another option to get support quickly and confidentially.”

If you have questions about mental health and wellbeing services available in Southwark please speak to your GP or visit for more information.