Dr Sandeep Ranote

Greater Manchester has become the first UK region to provide digital mental health support to all of its residents - approximately two million people aged 10 to 99+.

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership has commissioned Qwell, delivered by Kooth, for adults aged 26 and over across all 10 localities of Greater Manchester.

It means they will have immediate access to a free, confidential and safe digital mental health service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There is no referral needed from a health professional, waiting lists or criteria to qualify for this invaluable support.

Children and young adults aged 10 to 18 have already benefited from being able to access the Kooth.com service, which has also been extended and is now accessible for those aged 10 to 25.

Just like Kooth, Qwell provides a welcoming place to access non-judgemental professional help for any mental health concerns, as and when needed. The service is designed to work alongside other established NHS services. Once registered, it can be accessed via any internet-connected device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

Professor Sandeep Ranote, interim medical executive lead for mental health at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, explained:

“We believe this is a significant and important step towards delivering the health and care that the population of Greater Manchester deserve.

“It shows having the freedom and flexibility to make our own decisions over some of the most important things in our lives is a huge opportunity, as well as a great responsibility. That’s why we took charge of our health and social care in Greater Manchester and set out a plan of what was needed across all 10 boroughs.

“We know that early intervention and treatment can have a significantly positive impact on an adult, child or young person’s mental health and may prevent problems from becoming worse.

“Being safe, accessible and confidential was important to help reduce the stigma that’s often associated with mental health, and ensure that those seeking support have somewhere to go that matches their needs. We look forward to seeing the impact Kooth and Qwell will have on our city region.”

Across both the Qwell and Kooth services, counselling and wellbeing support 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 via a drop-in instant text-based chat.

As well as counselling, self-help articles, forums, and discussion boards are also available – with content that is appropriate for the relevant age groups and is moderated and approved by medical experts. Qwell and Kooth users can keep an online journal and monitor their wellbeing via an interactive goal tracker.

Tim Barker, Chief Executive Officer at Kooth Plc commented:

“By working in partnership with us, the team at Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership is ensuring that every adult – and child over 10 years old – has access to safe and accessible mental health support outside of the normal 9-5. This is almost 2 million people that will benefit from a clinically robust service, it has been designed to provide adults – as well as children and young people –  with access to timely and effective mental health care based on their individual preferences and needs.

Greater Manchester has really raised the bar when it comes to supporting everyone in its care with their mental health. What’s more, Qwell and Kooth’s team of experienced practitioners and professional counsellors can provide support at a range of levels. No matter the issue or situation, both services are here to help.”

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