Technology helps students ‘ChatHealth’

An exciting new text messaging service called ChatHealth has launched here in Cumbria, it allows secondary school children to text their school nurse with any issues they are having in a confidential way.

ChatHealth has already been praised by the students who have been introduced to it in the build up to launch; Beth Bewsher, a student at West Lakes Academy said:

“I think it’s a fantastic way for young people and teenagers to finally come forward with personal issues and problems and talk about them without feeling embarrassed”

 

The service, which is now live, provides an additional way for children to contact their school nurse that is straightforward, and allows them to use the technology that they enjoy most and are comfortable with. School Nurses will be promoting the service in schools across the county over the coming months.

The text number that any 11-19 year olds in Cumbria can reach their School Nurse on is 07480 635 458. 

Amanda Hulse, School Nurse at Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) and ChatHealth Project Lead explains:

“The Service will allow the School Nursing team to provide advice and support to any young person aged 11-19 on a wide range of issues, this may include bullying, emotional health and exam worries - the list is non exhaustive. ChatHealth is a confidential way of speaking to a member of the School Nursing team about these worries and the service can be used anonymously. We will always honour this confidentiality and support the young people in the best way we can but will always prioritise the safeguarding of any young person if a risk is highlighted.”

 

Debbie McDowell, Assistant Practitioner at CPFT and ChatHealth Co Project Lead added:

“Input from the children at West Lakes Academy, Egremont was pivotal to service development and their ideas influenced the design of the promotional materials and how the service was launched. We are hoping ChatHealth will be a fundamental component to improving the health and wellbeing of our young people as a whole across Cumbria.”

 

Amanda also hopes that it will help school nurses and other health professionals to target their services to local needs:

“As chat health becomes more embedded in the county it will also allow us to see any trends that are emerging enabling ourselves and other services to act on this. For example if an issue that is always coming up is tooth decay we can put more resources into educating young people about the importance of cleaning their teeth. Likewise with any other issues, from sexual health to smoking, bullying, mental health or general health issues.

“The ChatHealth Project has been a remarkable team effort and has enabled effective collaborative working between CPFT and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust, we are so thrilled to be finally launching the service and look forward to working in a new and innovative way.”