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Young people encouraged to text a school nurse for health advice

Published Friday, 13th September 2019

Senior School nurse dealing with an enquiry

A health service which allows schoolchildren to anonymously text message a school nurse has launched.

ChatHealth gives young people aged 11-19 an anonymous way in which they are able to discuss their physical and emotional health concerns with registered professionals from the school nursing team.

The service launched across Southend-on-Sea at the beginning of September to give secondary school children an alternative way of communicating to their school nurse.

Cllr Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “This is a fantastic initiative to help reach those children who, for whatever reason, are finding it difficult to cross the threshold into the school nurses’ drop-in sessions in schools.

“The nurses have explained how they see some children walk past their door, desperate to reach out but unable to. This will give them an anonymous way of getting the help and advice they need. Young people will also be given to the opportunity for face to face contact with a nurse if they require this.

“When many of us were at school, the nurse was there to deliver physical first aid and monitor general health, but it has changed so that nurses support children and young people with emotional health related issues, especially stress and anxiety relating to the academic environment.

“ChatHealth has been successfully launched in other areas with good effect and we’re hoping for a similar response here.”

Each young person will be asked if they want to give their name so their health records can be updated, but they can also remain anonymous if they wish.

Messages can be sent at any time to 07520 649895, and a school nurse will respond between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, throughout the school year except bank holidays.

You can follow the school nurses on Twitter with the handle @SouthendSN.