Emotional support for the festive period – we’re still here

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The winter festive period can be challenging for many people in south east London, but support is available for anyone experiencing anxiety and depression.

Dr Nancy Kuchemann, GP and Clinical Lead for Mental Health at NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group said: “For many – adults and young people – the festive season can bring difficulties, and the Covid-19 pandemic has added to these pressures.

“Money worries, loneliness, housing problems, exam stress and relationship difficulties don’t just disappear overnight, even during Christmas and the winter holidays.

“Some people feel even worse during this time of year, compounding their isolation and feelings of missing out.”

Dr Kuchemann added: “In reality, many feel anxious and down, but there is no need to suffer in silence, because help is available.”

Adults in south east London experiencing anxiety and depression can receive help and emotional support from Qwell – the UK’s leading provider of digital mental health support for adults.

Qwell is delivered by Kooth, and is accessible for anyone over 26 in the area, men and women, with no referrals, waiting lists or thresholds to meet.

Qwell is a free and anonymous online counselling and emotional wellbeing service for adults and is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). 

Adults over 26 can receive free counselling sessions from qualified counsellors via an online chat-based platform. Chats can either be accessed through a drop-in service or pre-booked sessions from any connected device.

The site is open 24 hours a day and one-to-one counselling sessions with an accredited therapist are available from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm until 10pm on weekends.

Young people from the ages of 10 to 25 can access mental wellbeing support via Kooth – a free and anonymous online mental health and emotional wellbeing service.

Kooth is open to all young people in south east London, and they can access free counselling sessions from qualified practitioners via an online chat-based platform.

Chats can either be accessed through a drop-in service or pre-booked sessions from any connected device. The site is open 24 hours a day and one-to-one counselling sessions with a member of the Kooth team are available from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm until 10pm on weekends.

Kooth is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and is available online, offering free and safe access to self-help materials, mood-tracking, online journal and goal setting tools and a moderated online community of peers.

Qwell and Kooth are text-based and complement existing mental health support in south London, delivered by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust, and the local voluntary sector.

Dr Kuchemann said: “For many, the Covid-19 pandemic has compounded the feelings of anxiety and depression that many people have at this time of year. The enforced joviality may not resonate when they look their own circumstances.

“But if anyone in south east London is feeling unhappy, I urge them to seek support and advice. The NHS is here for you.”

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