Good mental health and well-being is essential for leading a fulfilling and enjoyable life.
Yet many people who live in Southwark will be affected, either directly or indirectly, by poor mental health – with potentially long-lasting consequences for themselves, their family and friends.
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% of all disorders emerging before the age of 14.
Consequently, we want to recognise and tackle mental health and well-being issues early in life – the sooner these are addressed, the greater the likelihood that problems in adulthood can be reduced.
Just last week, we announced that young people in Southwark now have access to free mental health and well-being support through online counselling service, Kooth.
Anyone aged between 11 and 19 years-old can log onto Kooth.com via any connected device – for example, their phone, tablet or desktop – for confidential and anonymous support, 365 days a year.
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.
The forums address issues ranging from exam stress and depression, to self-harm and relationship problems.
In addition, qualified counsellors are available to support young people in one-to-one sessions from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm until 10pm at weekends.
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.
Remember, one in four of us will experience some form of mental illness in our lifetimes, so it’s important to know that you are not alone: there’s plenty of help available.
Please visit our website for more information about the mental health and wellbeing services available in Southwark: www.southwarkccg.nhs.uk/your-health/your-mental-health.
Dr Jonty Heaversedge is a GP at Manor Place Surgery and Chair of NHS Southwark Clinical Commissioning Group. Anyone aged between 11 and 19 years-old can log onto Kooth.com via any connected device for confidential support 365 days a year.