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Kooth's response to recent media coverage

We’re extremely disheartened by an article published by The Telegraph yesterday evening, which includes a number of factual inaccuracies - including an assertion that Kooth is being ‘formally investigated’ by NHS England, which is untrue. 

22 March, 2024

Although we were given the right to respond, not all of the information that we provided was reflected in this article. 

We take these allegations very seriously, and will continue to engage with our colleagues in NHS England, DHSC and the Department for Education to demonstrate that our services are safe for our Kooth community. 

If you are concerned about any of the issues raised in the article, or have any questions about the services we provide and how we take care of the children and young people that we work with, please do get in touch via

Kooth is not “under formal investigation” from NHS England.

We did meet with NHS England in December 2023 at its request to discuss the queries that were raised by a small group of MPs and provided in-depth written feedback in response to the questions.

We were advised by NHS England that this was not a formal investigation and that we had provided satisfactory assurance regarding both the safety and quality of our services. 

However, we share the views of both the MPs and NHSE that safeguarding is of utmost importance, never more so than when supporting the mental health of children and young people (CYP). 

This is why Kooth exists.  

We take our responsibilities for safeguarding our Kooth community of users with the seriousness that it merits.

Kooth’s services are underpinned by national clinical guidance and best practice guidelines, and delivered by appropriately trained staff. 

Kooth has been working with the NHS, local authorities, schools, young people and their families for over 20 years, and at the centre of our work is a commitment to ensuring that people from all walks of life get safe, effective and accessible mental health and wellbeing support. 

Many people coming to us want to explore numerous aspects of their life that impact their mental health. This can include particularly sensitive topics around gender expression/identity, sexuality, culture, race, and faith. Our role is to support them on their personal mental health and wellbeing journey. 

Key to this is creating a space where people can feel safe to bring forward any concerns affecting their mental wellbeing. 

For eating disorders specifically, we follow NICE guidance and adhere to community guidelines set out by BEAT. Our service users cannot under any circumstances contact each other directly; all submitted content is reviewed by a specialist team prior to publication in order to safeguard against any incidents of bullying, sharing of misinformation or other potentially distress inducing comments. Our robust clinical governance approach is overseen by highly trained Clinical Psychologists with significant (NHS) experience in eating disorders.

Our approach to gender identity aligns with the Cass interim report’s central theme, that all young people in distress should have the same access to psychological support, and that the support they receive must be non-judgemental, and not influenced by any particular ideology around gender. As laid out in the report, we understand that gender dysphoria is complex and can be influenced by a range of factors and situations.  

Our model, which is consistent across all service user presentations, is to provide holistic support (including via individual counselling and wellbeing support as well as self guided activities and peer support), to individuals with a range of presenting issues, using evidence informed approaches. Where appropriate, we will signpost to specialist/accredited service and refer directly to other specialist service providers if relevant. If a service/website is no longer deemed to be in line with an evidence based/best practice framework, this is removed from our resource list. 

Our safeguarding training, assurance and governance policies are robust and go well beyond statutory requirements. 

We conduct annual organisational audits to ensure our safeguarding arrangements are fully in line with the requirements laid out in safeguarding legislation, statutory guidance and NHS assurance frameworks in relation to each nation within the UK.

Kooth staff in service delivery and clinical roles complete Level 2 for adult safeguarding and Level 3 for child safeguarding as a minimum.

Our counselling team all hold a professional qualification with an accredited body (such as BACP, NCS) with full registration with that body. 

Our moderating team all hold a relevant degree and/or professional qualification in relation to working with children and young people (e.g., Counsellor, Social Worker) in addition to Level 3 safeguarding training. The team is supervised on shift by a Level 4 safeguarding-trained manager.  

Kooth’s counselling service is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and independent body ORCHA (Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Apps). Kooth aligns with standards set by the NHS, PSIRF (Patient Safety Incident Response Framework) and has full DTAC (Digital Technology Assessment Criteria) accreditation. 

In addition, Kooth’s processes align with the rules set out in the preliminary Online Safety Act and with Safeguarding Children Procedures (UK, Channel Islands and the Republic of Ireland). 

Kooth has implemented all applicable recommendations from the draft Cass Review. And we are members of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance. 

There is no direct or private interaction between users on Kooth’s service. 

All users remain anonymous and are not identifiable on the platform; checks are in place to ensure usernames can, in no way, make someone identifiable to another user. Nothing is published on the site without being reviewed and approved by Kooth’s trained moderation team according to our stringent moderation guidelines.

The need for accessible and available mental health support has never been more important. 

Last week, the Children's Commissioner stated that almost one million children and young people – 949,200 – were referred to CYP mental health services, also known as Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in 2022/23.

In a world of misinformation and social media, everyone should have access to somewhere to go to receive professional, safe and non-judgemental mental health support and care. 

By collaborating with our partners in the NHS, local authorities, schools, teachers, charities, children, young people and their families,  we are able to ensure that Kooth is an inclusive and welcoming community that can help people improve their mental health and wellbeing. We are extremely proud of our service and our team.

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