Text-based health initiative rolled out to parents and carers

‘ChatHealth’, a safe and easy way for parents, carers and young people to discreetly text a health visitor or school nurse, is introducing a new part of its service for parents and carers in Southend.

Person stood on the street typing on a mobile phone, there are blurry city lights in the background.

The School Nursing service launched ChatHealth in Southend in 2019 and aimed to give young people aged 11 to 19 an alternative way of talking to their school nurse anonymously. The project has been incredibly useful to a number of students and has since identified a need to include younger age groups .

ChatHealth will now provide parents and carers with an opportunity to confidentially reach out to a health visitor (for children aged 0 to 5 years) or school nurse (for children and young people aged 5 to 19) about any health or emotional wellbeing concerns they may have. Anyone that uses the service can choose to do so anonymously or have a record created for them for future reference.

Health visitors and school nurses are registered nurses or midwifes who have undertaken an additional post graduate training in community and public health. They have a wealth of knowledge from which to answer questions, signpost, or refer onto specialist services where appropriate and in agreement with those seeking help.

Cllr Laurie Burton, cabinet member for children and learning, said: “It’s wonderful to hear that ChatHealth has been a successful and useful tool for young people in Southend, and it’s so exciting that this has opened up to help parents and guardians too.

“Being honest about our health concerns can be a struggle at any age, and this confidential service will help so many more children to access support if they need it. Healthcare for students these days is more than just about first aid, and ChatHealth reflects this by offering a range of advice to help with behavioural and emotional wellbeing as well as physical health. Students and guardians may also be offered a face-to-face appointment if they wish, allowing the service to be flexible to the child’s needs. I’m excited to see the initiative go from strength to strength and support even more young people in the area.”

Parents and Carers can send messages at any time and a health professional will respond between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, throughout the school year and school holidays, except bank holidays.

To text a Health Visitor (for children aged 0 to 5): 07312 263257

To text a School Nurse (for children and young people aged 5 to19): 07507 331884

Young people aged 11 to 19

Text a School Nurse: 07520 649895

For more information on ChatHealth, visit their website.

You can also follow the Southend School Nursing Service on Twitter with the handle @SouthendSN.

Published: 1st August 2022

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