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Mental Health Awareness Week: digital support service rolled out further in Greater Manchester

Children and young adults have already been able to benefit from the service, but now it is being opened up to almost everyone in the city-region.

Greater Manchester residents can now access digital mental health support after a service which children and young adults can already use was rolled out to everyone in the city-region.

Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership has commissioned Qwell for adults aged 26 and over across all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester.

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The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days of week and does not need a referral from a health professional.

The health body has hailed the roll-out as a major step forward for mental health in the city-region.

What is the Qwell service and how does it work?

Qwell is a free digital mental health support service which is confidential and anonymous.

There is no need to be referred to it by a doctor and there are no waiting lists or criteria for accessing it.

It offers non-judgemental professional help for any mental health concern or issue and is designed to work alongside the existing NHS mental health services.

The service has counselling and wellbeing support including one-on-one sessions with trained practitioners running from midday to 10pm on weekdays and from 6pm to 10pm at weekends.

The Qwell digital service delivered by Kooth is now open to all adults in Greater Manchester

Appointments can be booked in advance or accessed via a drop-in instant text-based chat.

There are also self-help articles, forums, and discussion boards available, with the content being moderated to ensure it is appropriate for different age groups.

Users can also keep an online journal and monitor their wellbeing via an interactive goal tracker.

Once someone has registered for Qwell, which has been delivered by mental health platform Kooth, they can then log in on any internet-connected device such as a laptop, smartphone or tablet.

Qwell has now been opened up to more than two million people across Greater Manchester, having initially been used by children and young adults. Anyone over 10 can now access the service.

What has been said about the roll-out of Qwell in Greater Manchester?

The move to making Qwell accessible to all adults in Greater Manchester has been hailed as a very positive step.

The expansion has also taken place to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from 9 to 15 May.

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

Tim Barker, chief executive officer at Kooth Plc, said: “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 nine-to-five.

“This is almost two 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.

2Greater 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.”