Hundreds of students seek advice from new service

The ChatHealth team

School nurses have received hundreds of text messages from students since a support service was launched at the end of April.

ChatHealth, which has been funded by local authorities across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, is running alongside the existing school nursing service. It aims to reach even more young people aged 11 to 19 to access confidential advice and support.

The programme was launched by the Community Children’s Health Partnership and is led by Sirona care & health and partners. It is open 9am to 5pm every weekday, excluding bank holidays, and the number is 07312 263093.

In the first month, the school nurses received more than 400 messages from young people seeking advice.

They found the main reason students got in touch were related to emotional wellbeing, relationships, body image, family problems and mental health.

Katy Green, school nursing lead for Sirona care & health, said: “We launched the service to ensure young people can contact us at a time and place which is convenient for them, and also to encourage those who are not as comfortable accessing support face-to-face.”

A school nurse will respond within 24 hours during opening times. Out of hours, a bounce back message will signpost young people to alternative sources of help, and details of what to do in an emergency.

Sophie Mead