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1 September 2017, 14:37
A new nurse led text messaging service is starting in Gloucestershire.
ChatHealth offers 11-19 year olds confidential advice about their health and wellbeing, including relationships, bullying, healthy lifestyle, anxiety, drugs, smoking, stress, body worries, alcohol, self-harm and sexual health.
As well as giving advice, the School Nursing Team can signpost to appropriate services and other support.
Messages sent to the dedicated number (07507 333351) are delivered to a secure website, and responded to by a GCS School Nurse.
The service is available Monday to Friday from 9am to 4.30pm, excluding bank holidays. Texts are usually replied to within 24 hours. Out of hours, anyone who texts the service receives a bounce back message explaining where to get help if their question is urgent, and when they can expect a response.
Sarah Birmingham, Gloucestershire Care Services' Head of Children and Young People's Services said: ''The majority of young people today haven’t known a life without technology. It has been part of their environment from an early age, so we thought it would great to embrace the opportunity to use mobile phone technology as a communication and information tool.
''Launching this service in Gloucestershire is an exciting opportunity to make health information more easily accessible for 11-19 year olds.''
Although the service is confidential and young people do not need to disclose their name, if there is a concern for an individual’s safety, there are safeguarding procedures in place.
Young people will still be able to see a School Nurse face to face in a school or college drop in or other setting.