A new text messaging service for 11-19 year olds, which they can use to contact a school nurse for confidential advice and support, has been launched in Norfolk.
ChatHealth was recently introduced by Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust’s school nursing team.
It is intended to be an easy way for young people to confidentially ask for help about a range of issues, or make an appointment with a school nurse.
They can also find out how to access other local services including emotional support or sexual health services.
Messages sent to the dedicated number are delivered to a secure website, and responded to by a nurse.
Out of hours, anyone who texts the service receives a bounce back message explaining where to get help if their question is urgent, and when they can expect a response. Texts are usually replied to within one working day.
ChatHealth, an award-winning service originally developed for a health trust in Leicestershire, is also being introduced by several other trusts in other parts of the UK.
Chris Barnett, the trust’s head of locality, said: “With young people increasingly using technology to access services we felt ChatHealth was ideal to encourage them to engage with the team.
“It’s really important that young people feel they have someone to contact to ask questions about issues connected with their health and wellbeing, and school nurses can support them on a wide range of issues,” he said.