Online Counselling for Young People
With referrals to children & adolescent mental health services rising in Bracknell Forest, it was clear that we needed to do better at offering early and accessible support to young people expereincing poor mental well-being. The Kooth.com service was first promoted in the autumn of 2015 - offering a range of web-based resources including a moderated chat room and professional counselling. The feedback has been great, and together with our Mental Health Resources, this work has been nominated for a national Positive Practice in Mental Health Award. But what effect has it had on reducing demand for CAMHS Services?
We compared referrals to BHFT CAMHS in 2014/15 and in 2015/16, looking at the same period in each year to avoid the effects of seasonal variation. We eliminated the actual month of the first Kooth service promotion from the analysis (October 2015) to be sure we didn’t mix up pre- and post-service launch periods. Figure One (below) compares referrals in the period November to March (2014/15) (before Kooth) and the same period in 2015/16 (after Kooth was implemented). This clearly shows a reduction of 7% in CAMHS referrals.
But can we be sure that referrals were not coming down anyway - regardless of the Kooth service? To answer this, we also looked at the yearly trend in CAMHS referrals before Kooth was implemented. To do this we compared referrals between April to September (2014/15) with the same period in (2015/16) (both periods were prior to Kooth– so this just looks at the change year on year). Our analysis revealed an upward trend, with an 8% increase in referrals (see Figure Two). So, this upward trend was completely reversed after the introduction of Kooth, and Figures One and Two together suggest a 15% swing in referrals.
In conclusion, while it’s difficult to draw firm conclusions on the efficacy of preventative services outside of an controlled research trial , this data does suggest our plans may be having a positive impact.
Take a look at our mental well-being resources, co-produced with local young people.