[O]ver 60 young people across Cumbria have been helped by a new text messaging service that allows them to text Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) School Nurses with any issues for support.
Since September the ChatHealth service has been offered to every secondary school in the county and in assemblies students have been finding out how they can benefit from the confidential service.
ChatHealth was recently introduced to students at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School (QEGS) in Penrith, after the assembly 16 year old student Emily Atkinson from Langwathby said: “I think it’s a brilliant service, if someone came to me for advice about something they weren’t keen on speaking to a School Nurse in person about I would recommend ChatHealth to them. We all love using our phones so texting is a great idea!”
The teachers at QEGS are also on board with the service; Rebecca Chapman, Assistant Head Teacher said: “I think the ChatHealth service is brilliant. It’s another way of supporting our students’ needs and wellbeing at a time when services are stretched and we hope it will be particularly useful for those students who aren’t confident enough to come forward with a problem face to face”
Since the start of term the service has received 62 text messages from young people on a wide variety of issues. The three most common themes have been immunisation enquiries, social anxiety and physical health questions. Amanda Hulse, ChatHealth lead and School Nurse explains: “The text messages coming in to the service have varied with regards to the information requests, however, the key themes identified will allow us the opportunity to provide targeted intervention which also link to our public health outcomes.
“Some of the text messages we have received have resulted in face to face meetings with the young person by the School Nursing Team, this shows that ChatHealth is helping young people gain confidence in seeking face to face contact with a member of their School Nursing Team and get the support they need.”
ChatHealth is a text messaging service for young people aged 11-19 years; it allows them to text their school nurse in a confidential way using the technology which they are comfortable with. The service runs all year round from Monday – Friday 9.00am-4.00pm, any texts sent outside of these hours receive an automatic bounce back response and will be picked up by a school nurse on their return. The number to text is 07480 635 458.