A new text messaging service is encouraging young people across Northumberland to discuss their health concerns in confidence.
Aimed at 11-to-19-year-olds, Chat Health enables them to text their school nurse, in confidence, for advice and support.
The service deals with all kinds of issues – including mental health, bullying, alcohol and drugs, relationships, healthy eating and smoking.
The system for comprehensive, middle and high schools in the county is secure, with all messages coming in to one place where it is monitored by a small team of trained school nurses.
They then triage and answer all messages, with an automated message being sent if a text is received out-of-hours. The nurses can also signpost the young person on to other appropriate health care services, if necessary, or offer to see the young person face-to-face.
Veronica Hetherington, community matron at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This service allows young people to talk anonymously about difficult and sensitive issues that they wouldn’t feel comfortable doing in person. It complements the face-to-face care that we already provide.”
School students in Northumberland who would like to discuss concerns with a school nurse can text the Chat Health service on 07507 332258.