A NEW online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service for young people in mid and west Wales has been launched by Hywel Dda University Health Board.

The Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (S-CAMHS) has commissioned Kooth, an award-winning online counselling service and accredited by The British Association of Psychotherapy and Counselling, to run the service across Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

Following an appropriate referral from SCAMHS, young people aged between 11 and 18 years old will now be able to access online counselling through their mobile device, 365 days a year.

Kooth provides a blended approach of online counselling, support, and advice to young people, which is free, safe and anonymous by friendly counsellors.

Experienced counsellors will be available for virtual drop-in or bookable chat sessions from noon until 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm until 10pm on weekends. Leaflets are available in English and Welsh and the service is currently recruiting Welsh speaking counsellors.

In addition to online counselling, Kooth offers peer-to-peer support, moderated forums with other young members of the ‘Kooth community’ and a wide range of self-help materials.

Young people who use the service will be able to seek support or advice on any topic they wish, from coping with exam stress or bullying, seeking help for eating issues and body image, dealing with suicidal thoughts or handling sexual abuse.

Dr Lynne Green, chief clinical officer at Kooth added: “A digital mental health service like Kooth is beneficial to young people as it is anonymous and free from the stigma some individuals face.

“Young people can easily log on to Kooth, which has no waiting lists and no thresholds to meet to gain access to support. Our qualified counsellors are on hand to provide support and guidance every day.

“We look forward to supporting young people in the Hywel Dda area with their mental health and encourage all young people to seek help on Kooth."