A NEW website will offer free online counselling and emotional support for youngsters aged from 11-18.

The service, Kooth, aims to give instant access to emotional and wellbeing advice and support whenever and wherever it's needed. It's being launched by the Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group through the Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust.

It includes self-help articles and online tools such as a mood tracker, as well as professional online therapy and peer-to-peer forums.

The CCG say it will provide a safe environment where young people can chat anonymously and in confidence with qualified counsellors, who are online from 12-noon until 10pm on weekdays and from 6pm until 10pm, every day of the year.

Denise Nightingale, the CCG’s Executive Director for Mental Health said: "I’m delighted our mental health provider is offering this service. A great feature of it is young people can register on Kooth without having to provide personal details such as their name or address, providing a safe and non-judgemental place for them to talk, connect and chat with others and know they are not alone."

Online counsellors will be fully qualified and where necessary will signpost children and young people to wider support through the service. It's available at www.kooth.com