Growing up can be tough at times. Do you ever remember feeling stressed, sad, lonely or worried during your teenage years? Were you worried about the way your body was developing or spots on your face, or sad because a pet or relative had died? We may have had friends or family members that we could turn to for advice and support, but I think many of us can think of times when we didn’t know who to speak to, to get reliable confidential information. Young people these days have the added complication of navigating social media, chat rooms and conflicting internet information. A little worry or concern can become much bigger if we don’t seek help early enough.
I am really excited that as a School Nursing service we have launched ChatHealth in Hampshire. ChatHealth is an award winning young people’s texting service which has been successfully rolled out to many areas in England. Young people were involved in the initial design and delivery of the service so that it suited their needs.
In Hampshire the service is manned by our Specialist Community Public Health School Nurses. Our School nurses are skilled in working with children, young people and their families and have ongoing training and supervision. ChatHealth enables young people aged 11-19 to get evidence based health information, advice and support from a health professional.
The service is open 8.30-16.30 Monday – Friday [excluding bank holidays]. This means that young people are able to get support during school holidays when they may be feeling at their most vulnerable, such as when they are moving to a new school year and when they may not have the support from friends in school. During weekends and evenings users will get a bounce-back when they text the service to direct them to information until a School Nurse is able to return their message during the working day.
Having a texting service does not replace face to face contact from a School Nurse it just increases the ways that young people are able to communicate with a health professional. Young people are still able to access a school nurse in a health drop-in or through a direct request for support.
Young people wanting to access ChatHealth should text 07507 332160.