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Therapist-In-Your-Pocket’ Trend Reveals Demand For Digital Counselling

New Suite of Interactive Mental Well-Being Apps Launched To Meet Needs of Younger Generation


Zoe Blake, CEO of XenZone

The UK’s largest digital mental health and wellbeing platform, XenZone, is launching a new family of mental health apps to meet the upward trend for a “therapist-in-your-pocket.” XenZone is a pioneer in the delivery of digital mental health support, having launched its first service, Kooth,in 2004.


Data from Kooth, XenZone’s digital counselling platform for 12-18-year-olds reveals the rapid demand for digital therapy. In the last 12 month, the company has attracted 93% more logins than the previous year, with over 1,200 people accessing support across its platform every 24 hours - a 300% increase since 2015.  Children and young people on Kooth sent a quarter of a million messages to counsellors and emotional well-being practitioners, an average of almost 21,000 every month and an increase of 51% compared to the same period last year. Additionally, Kooth counselors held more than 30,250 one to one online therapy sessions, and their online forums were viewed over 190,000 times. This represents a 213% increase on April ’16 – April ’17. Forum threads were viewed by 17,681 individual young people, 193% more than the previous year.


To cope with the demand for a “therapist-in-your-pocket,” and to cater to the needs of the Kooth users who have aged out of the platform, XenZone has now launched a suite of mental health apps for the 18 market which caters to a generational need for immediate and anonymous digital counselling support.


The Minds for Life family of apps offers an easily accessible and discreet digital service for emotional wellbeing coaching and support. Created in concert with leading UK psychiatrists and psychologists, each new app takes the user through a stepped programme of discovery, learning, and assessment. Accompanying tools help the user self-manage their behaviours and emotions, and unlike many standalone digital tools, the apps have an integrated escalation path with messaging to a support worker and optional video-counseling sessions with fully-accredited UK counsellors.


First to launch are apps for Overcoming Grief, Recovering from Sexual Abuse and Coping with Anxiety, with a fourth app to be launched later this year to support people living with depression. Further apps for eating disorders, panic attacks, and addiction are in development.


Within each app, individuals can progress at their own pace through a programme of content written in cooperation with survivors, by someone with first-hand experience supporting men and women of all ages. A Minds for Life guide is on hand to further support individuals on their journey. Additional features include case studies of lived stories; messaging from a trained guide; self-management tools including journaling and mood tracking, goal setting and grounding techniques. There is also a moderated anonymous forum and optional add-on access to video therapy.


The apps will initially be launched on the iOS platform, with Android versions following in early 2019. They will cost just £8.33 per month from the Apple App Store, Push Doctor, Benefits Hub and the Good Thinking website. It is anticipated that Minds for Life family of apps will be available via the NHS pending accreditation, in a similar way to Kooth.


All the apps are supported on the same 100% confidential and encrypted platform supported by a team of over 150 mental health workers employed directly by XenZone. Unlike competitors who broker and contract counsellors on behalf of customers, XenZone is 100% accountable for all their counselling services and invests in the continuous training, development, and support of all their clinical team.


XenZone delivers public services on behalf of the NHS for young people and adults across the country.  XenZone has evolved through digital innovation – in a way that the NHS needs - providing counselling services and chat rooms that meet the immediate needs of how young people best engage.


XenZone was founded by Elaine Bousfield in 2001 with a vision to lead the way in using digital technology to remove barriers to achieving emotional and mental health. Elaine Bousfield says: “Young people are comfortable online – even more so knowing they don’t have to involve a professional to access support, and can remain anonymous.  Young people who choose to use Kooth, consistently tell us they prefer online counselling to face to face counseling (approximately 85%).”


Birthed in a pre-Facebook landscape, XenZone is now growing 40% year on year since its sale to Root Capital in 2015. CEO Zoe Blake has taken the strategic decision to mine the company’s 15 years’ worth of anonymised data on mental health provision to improve services, marrying this with a new generation of AI innovations.


In light of continued growth, XenZone is continuously expanding its leadership team. Recently, Dr. Lynne Green joins as Clinical Director while Aaron Sefi moves within XenZone to become Research and Evaluation Director. The XenZone board has also expanded with the appointments of Giles Alexander as Chief Technology Operator and Annie Meharg as Chief Commercial Operator.


Zoë Blake commented: “We aim to make XenZone synonymous with digital mental health. We have a proud heritage of marrying clinical best practice with innovative technology.  Our ambition is to put world-class mental health and emotional wellbeing services within easy reach of the widest possible audience.  In doing so, we will build an emotionally resilient population across the globe, better able to cope with the stresses of modern life.  And deliver positive outcomes for those suffering from mental ill health so that they can thrive in their own lives amongst their family and friends.”