Two million young people now have access to confidential new text messaging service

By Jill Dando News

Some two million young people now have access to a confidential new text messaging service.

ChatHealth enables young people, aged 11-19, to text a School Nurse confidentially to ask for advice on a range of issues, from mental health and relationships, to bullying, self-harm and exam stress.
The new text messaging service is accessibly by around two million young people. (Picture by JESHOOTS via pexels.com)

Now just days after launching in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) it has already received over 70 text messages.

The service was launched by the Community Children’s Health Partnership (CCHP), which is led by Sirona care & health and partners. 

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Within hours of going live, the service received several texts from young people asking for help or advice.

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.

Julie Sharma, Sirona’s Acting Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to have launched our ChatHealth service, which will enable our School Nurses to reach more young people, including those who may not feel comfortable accessing face-to-face support.

“ChatHealth will improve the reach, timeliness and efficiency of our services and it is more age appropriate for young people. They can contact one of our School Nurses in a matter of seconds by sending a text, rather than waiting to see a health care professional or being referred, so it is quick and easy for them to access the support they need.”
The ChatHealth line is open from 9am-5pm during term time and school holidays, excluding bank holidays.

ChatHealth enables safe and secure messaging between healthcare professionals and service users. It is an anonymous and confidential service although service users can be identified if there is a significant risk of harm.

Angelos Markoutsas, Principal of Priory Community School Academy, said: “We welcome the launch of ChatHealth which should serve to be an excellent additional confidential service for students to access support.”

It was first set by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust in 2013 after feedback from service users found some young people felt less comfortable accessing healthcare face-to-face and would rather use something anonymous and confidential.

ChatHealth is now used by more than 53 organisations in the UK, giving 2 million young people access to the service. School nurses in these areas have found they have four times as many contacts through ChatHealth than face-to-face clinics.

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To access ChatHealth click https://chathealth.nhs.uk