Scores of young people using text messaging support service to seek help from School Nurses 

By Jill DANDO News

School nurses have received hundreds of text messages from students across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) over the six weeksafter launching a new text messaging support service.

ChatHealth was launched on April 25 by the Community Children’s Health Partnership (CCHP), which is led by Sirona care & health and partners, to enable young people aged 11-19 to contact our school nurses via text message to seek confidential advice and support.

In the first month, our school nurses received more than 400 messages from young people asking for advice. Emotional wellbeing, relationships, body image, family problems and mental health were they main reasons they got in touch.

Katy Green, School Nursing Lead for Sirona care & health, is delighted with how well the service is going so far. She said: “We are so pleased so many young people are getting in touch with us through ChatHealth.

“We launched the service to ensure young people can contact us at a time and place which is convenient for them, and also to encourage those who are not as comfortable accessing support face-to-face.

“We have received hundreds of messages so far and we hope more young people will use this service to ask for help when they need it.”

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ChatHealth, which has been funded by local authorities across BNSSG, is running alongside the existing school nursing service with the aim of reaching even more young people.

The service is open 9am-5pm every weekday, excluding bank holidays, and young people can text in to get confidential advice on a range of issues from relationships, mental health and exam stress to healthy eating, bullying and sexual health. They do not have to provide their name.

A school nurse will respond within 24 hours during opening times. Out of hours, a bounce back messages will signpost young people to alternative sources of help, and details of what to do in an emergency.

To find out more about ChatHealth visit https://chathealth.nhs.uk

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