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Effective and personalised

We establish the evidence base for Kooth to contribute to best practice in digital mental health innovation

What makes us effective & personalised?

We create a welcoming space for effective personalised digital mental health care. Available to all. Our mission is to establish the evidence-base for our services and contribute to innovation and dissemination of knowledge in the field of mental health and digital interventions through robust, inclusive and objective research.


Our mission is to establish the evidence base for Kooth and demonstrate the impact of digital mental health support. Kooth was built to serve the needs and wants of people with issues around their mental health. Our work so far has demonstrated that Kooth works as a Positive Virtual Ecosystem, providing many touch points of support as when and how people want to access it, with outcomes to match. Our research team work with the best academic partners to ensure all of our research is independently validated and of the highest quality. We are leading the way in providing evidence for this unique approach to mental health support, and committed to providing outcomes that reflect the needs and wants of users as a priority.


Our team of data analysts work tirelessly to democratise data within Kooth to enable data-informed decisions. Data control, governance, security and validation are paramount to Kooth Insights team’s data processes. Our Insights team provides analysis and insights for ground-breaking peer-reviewed research, to drive user behaviour-led product development, for optimum efficiency and consistency of service and for Safeguarding and Clinical governance. Our data also informs the Cabinet Office and Public Health England trackers of the state of the nation’s mental health and is submitted to the NHS Mental Health Service Data Set (MHSDS), to measure performance against mental health access targets across the UK.

Data Science

As a leader in digital mental health services in the UK, Kooth has millions of data points covering the mental health journey for over half a million individuals. Using that wealth of data, we leverage data science to improve the Kooth service and to support our service users in achieving optimum outcomes for their mental health. Data science is key to improving the service we provide, covering projects such as early recognition of risk, matching service user needs to the most appropriate practitioner, and improving the service user experience through shorter waiting times for support and moderation. We use data science to evaluate the trajectories our service users take through Kooth, partnering with experts in both academia and machine learning technology. We are always ethical, collaborative and open about our assumptions, throughout every project.

Research publications relating to the development of appropriate outcome measures for a digital and social model of support.

Defining the Theory of Change for Kooth (Children & Young People)
We identified the mechanisms of change and outcomes for the pathways on Kooth: community support, immediate drop in support, structured counselling, and ongoing therapy
Implementing a Measure of Need
We piloted three standardised measures to identify acceptability, applicability, appropriateness and reliability
Developing a Community Measure
From the Theory of Change a measure was developed to assess the value of the Kooth Community (Forums, Magazine, Activities)
Evidencing impact using goal based outcomes
In collaboration with CORC at the Anna Freud Centre, we identified 55% of users engaging with goal setting achieving meaningful change
Defining the Theory of Change for Kooth (Adults)
Working with New Philanthropy Capital, we identified mechanisms of change and outcomes for adults using Kooth
The Reliability of Using Standardised Measures Online
To understand the reliability of standardised assessments for measuring need, we assessed the concordance of practitioner assessed need vs. user-rated need
The design and development of an experience measure for a peer community moderated forum in a digital mental health service
Young people who participated in the community as writers found it more helpful than those who consume the community as viewers. young service users( 10 - 14 years ) have a more positive experience within the community.
The helpfulness of web-based mental health and wellbeing forums for providing peer support for young people: A cross-sectional exploration
Young people found web-based peer support helpful. Peer support can provide an important strand of care within a supportive mental health ecosystem, particularly during time periods when in-person support is typically closed.
The Therapeutic Goals Set by University Students in an Anonymous Web-Based Therapy and Support Setting
Better engagement with goals from younger individuals (18–22). Males were less likely to set goals and less likely to move towards achieving them , whereas females showed increased movement.
Alienated and unsafe: Experiences of the first national UK COVID-19 lockdown for vulnerable young people (aged 11–24 years) as revealed in Web-based therapeutic sessions with mental health professionals
Indidviduals with existing vulnerability face an increased risk of poor outcomes through the pandemic . There is a need for focused support for vulnerable young people as we emerge from lockdown.

Other peer-review papers, reports and publications relating to evidencing the Kooth model of a positive virtual ecosystem

Therapeutic Alliance Online
Dr Terry Hanley interviewed 15 young-people online and found that good relationships with counsellors were established online reflecting those of a face-to-face environment
Therapeutic Goals in Student Counselling
The University of Manchester examined therapeutic goals using grounded theory. Goals fit into three core categories, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal and Intrapersonal goals related to others
Independent review of Kooth by Education Policy Institute
The Education Policy Institute reviewed literature related to online counselling and investigated how young people respond to the Kooth model
The Ethical Challenges of Accessing Online Data
The University of Nottingham explore the ethical considerations and potential challenges with accessing Digital Mental Health data
Experiences of young people completing the YP-CORE
Kooth users shared their motivations and experiences for completing a standardised mental health assessment online
Identifying key challenges and needs in digital mental health moderation practices supporting users exhibiting risk behaviours to develop responsible AI tools: the case study of Kooth
Demonstrates the rigor and safety of Kooth's moderation system. Authors: Nichele, Lavorgna & Middleton
An exploration in to how young-people from ethnic-minority backgrounds interact with online counselling
Findings reveal school-based services are the most popular source of referral for all YP; however, a higher number of YP from Asian and Black ethnicities reached out through informal sources such as Google as opposed to health professionals such as GPs. From the data, YP who identified as Indian, Chinese and African present to online counselling at a lower level of distress compared to their White British counterparts, contradictory to findings investigating measure of need in face-to-face settings.

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If you have any interesting collaboration or research ideas that may involve our services, we'll be pleased to hear from you!

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