Young adults in Cornwall are getting more options to support their mental health with anonymous online help.

NHS Kernow Clinical Commissioning Group has today announced that it has commissioned Qwell to provide online counselling and emotional support to young people between 18 and 25 years of age.

Qwell is delivered by Kooth, a digital mental health platform that is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP),

Qwell has been commissioned by NHS Kernow to address an increase in requests for help and to expand access to support in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In particular, this will support those who need a more flexible approach or anonymous, targeted conversations – particularly anyone living in rural areas, carers, care leavers, those not in education, employment or training, students and young families.

During the pandemic, NHS Kernow asked children and young people to share their experiences of services, and what they have said has been used to provide this early intervention support. 

Through the new commission, young adults will have access to free and anonymous mental health and emotional wellbeing support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Counselling sessions, including one-on-one sessions with fully trained and qualified practitioners, run from midday to 10pm on weekdays and from 6pm to 10pm at weekends. Appointments can be booked in advance or accessed as a drop-in instant text-based chats.

There is no referral needed from a health professional, no waiting lists and no criteria needed to meet to qualify for support.

As well as counselling, there is the option to read and/or contribute to Qwell’s range of wellbeing resources, including an extensive range of articles, peer-to-peer support via moderated discussion forums and personal tools such as a confidential online journal. The service can be accessed using a computer, smartphone or tablet device.

Dr Lynette Rentoul, NHS Kernow’s clinical lead for children and young people, said: “During the past 18 months, children and young people have faced incredible emotional upheaval and pressure due to the pandemic, and we know from talking to children, young people and their families and carers that there is a need for more mental health support.

“I am pleased children and young people will be able to access free, round the clock health and wellbeing support from mental health experts when they need it, and without needing to be referred by a GP or someone else involved with their care.

"Extending the service from 18 to 25 years will provide much needed additional support to young people, who are facing the challenging journey from childhood to adulthood. It will help them to be better prepared and more confident to deal with these challenges and enable them to feel more connected to trusted adults and systems of support”.

Dr Lynne Green, chief clinical officer at Kooth Plc, added: “Digital services like Qwell are designed to provide adults with access to timely and effective mental health care based on their individual preferences and needs. And with so many young adults reporting mental health difficulties related to the pandemic, our service is more important than ever.

"The evidence shows that early intervention and treatment can significantly improve a person’s mental health and help prevent problems escalating. Therefore we encourage young adults in Cornwall to contact us for support with any problem they may be struggling with. No matter the issue or situation, Kooth is here to help."

To sign up, log on to through a smartphone, tablet or computer and follow these steps:

1). Click on the 'Join Qwell' button located in the centre of the homepage of the website.

2). Choose from the dropdown menu, the area/location you live in

3). Select the month and year you were born.

4). Click on the gender that best describes you and then the ethnicity and background that most closely matches you.

5). Create an anonymous username (not your real name) and secure password.

6). Choose from the drop down menu to select where you found out about Qwell.

7). Select next step to complete the registration.