New NHS-commissioned online tool helps University Students access Mental Health support and services

Kooth, the UK’s leading digital mental health platform, has developed an online tool for UK university students seeking mental health support for themselves or friends. By clicking on and searching for their university or home postcode students can discover if Kooth or other online NHS-commissioned mental health services are available, and easily accessible, to them while they are at university or at home.

This invaluable resource for both freshers and returning students is part of a new access and awareness campaign from Kooth called “What’s on Your Mind?” Its aim is to ensure that all students have the mental health support they need, whenever and how they need it. The campaign is being supported by UCAS and Universities UK (UUK).

Kooth is a free, anonymous digital mental health platform commissioned across 90% of NHS England, large parts of Wales and in three areas of Scotland (the Borders, Aberdeenshire and Clackmannanshire). In the areas where Kooth is available, students have immediate access to its mental health services and support – 24/7, 365 days a year – by simply using a computer, smartphone or tablet. What’s more, there’s no need for a referral or any waiting lists – which helps students to access the support and guidance, whenever and however they need it.

Tim Barker, CEO at Kooth explained: “Talking about what’s on your mind can be extremely difficult. Many freshers adjusting to university life for the first time; returning students struggling with the pressure of exams and coursework deadlines; or those facing challenging life events including the impact of COVID-19, may not be ready, or comfortable, sharing their thoughts and concerns about mental health with other students, friends or lecturers. And they often don’t realise that free and confidential help is available and accessible to them at the touch of a button. By working closely with UCAS and Universities UK, we are aiming to change this.

“As a company that is born digital, we were adamant that an online tool should underpin the “What’s on Your Mind?” campaign. It is designed with the sole purpose of ensuring that every UK university student is fully aware of where they can go to access the mental health support they need, when and how they need it.”

Clare Marchant, Chief Executive at UCAS commented: “It is a privilege to be a part of this incredible campaign to signpost mental health support to students across the country alongside Kooth. It’s essential for students to prioritise their health and wellbeing as they progress onto an undergraduate course or apprenticeship, especially as we know that many of them have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

“Support is available to help anyone who might be struggling, so please do get in touch with Kooth, if that’s you or someone that you know. The start of the academic year can be an exciting time, full of new adventures and experiences, though it’s also an emotional one, particularly as we move on from the restrictions of the last eighteen months. We know the offer of a helping hand from Kooth each step of the way will be important for many young people throughout their studies and beyond.”

Professor Steve West VC UWE[Bristol] UUK President and Chair of Mental Health in Higher Education said: “UUK is delighted to support this campaign to improve student access to the NHS-commissioned online mental health support delivered by Kooth. We are grateful to the leadership team at Kooth for recognising the need and making this happen at pace.

“Universities are already working in close partnership with NHS mental health services to make sure that our communities of students and staff get the care they need. Digital mental health support – clinically assured and integrated with local services including those provided by universities – will be key to mitigating the impact the pandemic is having on the mental health and wellbeing of this generation of students.”

Kooth offers students a full spectrum of digital mental health tools including one-on-one counselling sessions with fully trained practitioners. Counselling sessions are available from midday to 10pm on weekdays and from 6pm to 10pm on the weekend. Appointments can be booked in advance or accessed through a drop-in service. Students using Kooth will also be able to take advantage of a range of self-help materials from reading and contributing to self-help stories, peer-to-peer support via moderated discussion forums as well as personal tools such as an online journal and interactive goal tracker.

What’s more, Kooth is a website, not an app and can be accessed via a web browser on any internet-enabled device. This removed the need for users to download an app, enabling them to access Kooth via the library or other community computers, etc, keeping the mobile data requirements for the site low for users. is live and can be accessed by UK university students immediately.

Kooth is the only digital mental health provider to hold a UK-wide accreditation from the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).