A new free and confidential digital mental health and wellbeing service for adults is now available across Torbay.

Qwell, delivered by mental health provider Kooth, will ensure that every adult living in Devon has access to a choice of support to manage their own emotional health and wellbeing.

NHS Devon, working in partnership with Devon, Plymouth and Torbay Councils, has commissioned Qwell to provide all adults aged 18+ with free, anonymous, confidential digital mental health support.

Qwell offers a safe online space for adults to access therapeutic activities and content including a peer support community. This includes self-help articles, forums, and discussion boards that are moderated by qualified practitioners.

Qwell users can also keep an online journal and monitor their wellbeing via an interactive goal tracker. This will be accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Sitting alongside the self-help and community support, is a one-on-one live text chat and messaging counselling service with a team of qualified practitioners. Appointments can be booked in advance or accessed via a drop-in text-based chat which runs from midday to 10pm on weekdays, and from 6pm to 10pm at the weekend.

Anyone over the age of 18 living in Torbay can access support from Qwell without a referral from a health professional. There is no criteria to qualify for support.

Children and young adults aged 11 to 18 already have access to the professional support Kooth.com offers for emotional wellbeing and mental health.

Both services are confidential and designed to work as part of wider mental health services across One Devon.

One Devon is the name of Devon’s health and care system working in partnership, which includes NHS organisations and local councils, as well as the many other local organisations, groups and communities who work together to improve the health, wellbeing, and care of people in Devon.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, joint chair of the One Devon Partnership, said: “This is a great example of how One Devon is working together to improve the health, wellbeing and care of our communities, removing traditional boundaries between services so people get the support that they need.

“This project has been launched as a direct response to the increased need for support for emotional health and wellbeing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This new online support service has been designed to complement our existing mental health services and focuses very much on providing support to help people build resilience and ways of managing their emotional health and wellbeing now and in future.”

Dr Lynne Green, Chief Clinical Officer at Kooth Plc, said: “There’s no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to mental health care and it’s not always easy for people to reach out and ask for the help they need.

“This is where an anonymous digital service such as Qwell can help - by providing adults with a confidential and safe space to access support on their own terms, and in a way they feel comfortable with.

“In addition, being able to access early intervention services that offer a balance of self-care and professional support can help combat perceived stigma and prevent certain problems escalating. They can also aid in the reduction of the severity and duration of any potential mental health illness.

“NHS Devon and Devon, Plymouth and Torbay Councils have really raised the bar when it comes to the wide choice of mental health care, services and support they are offering residents.

“This means those living in One Devon will be able to benefit from a clinically robust service, with a team of experienced practitioners and professional counsellors that can provide support. No matter the issue or situation, both Qwell and Kooth are here to help.”

To access the service, visit the Qwell website, enter a postcode and complete a short registration process. Once registered, Qwell can be accessed 24/7 via any internet-connected device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

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