The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) has launched ChatHealth which will enable 11 to 19 year olds to message a school nurse and get confidential advice and support for a range of health and wellbeing issues, such as anxiety, bullying, relationships or staying healthy.
School nurses will also be able to put young people in touch with other NHS or support services that can help.
Kate Shaw, Deputy Chief Operating Officer at RWT, said: “We are very excited to launch our ChatHealth text messaging service for young people in Wolverhampton.
“The impact of Coronavirus has meant that there has never been a more challenging time for young people.
“With many young people not returning to school until September, ChatHealth will enable them to share their worries in confidence with a school nurse who can quickly provide advice and signposting to help prevent any problems becoming worse.”
Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing at Wolverhampton City Council added: “Having seen ChatHealth work successfully in other areas across the country, we are delighted to be able to launch the service for young people in our city.
“Being able to quickly text a school nurse for advice and support will make a big difference to 11 to 19 year olds who are perhaps struggling with issues, especially in the current climate. It will also help young people who may not be comfortable talking about issues face to face”.
ChatHealth works by messages being sent to a dedicated number - 07507 332 631 – which are delivered to a secure website. Messages are read by a school nurse who then starts a text conversation with the young person.
All texts receive an automatic message explaining where to get help if their question or concern is urgent, and when they can expect a response.
ChatHealth is available 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays) during term time and 10am to 4pm, Monday, Wednesday and Friday (excluding bank holidays) during school holidays. Texts will be responded to within 24 hours during term time and within 48 hours during school holidays.
For medical help and advice outside of these hours, users are advised to call their GP, visit an NHS walk-in centre or call 111, or dial 999 or visit A&E if it is an emergency.
For more information, go to ChatHealth or follow us on Instagram @rwt_nhs or Twitter @RWT_NHS #ChatHealthWolves