Dorset Health Care has launched a new text service called ChatHealth for young people between 11 and 19 years old (From Dorset Echo)

A TEXT messaging service offering the county’s youngsters confidential advice about their health and wellbeing has been launched.

ChatHealth is a new scheme offered by Dorset Health Care which enables young people between the ages of 11 and 19 to send questions directly from their mobile to the school nursing team.

The service provides advice, information and guidance, and can signpost those who use it to additional services if necessary.

Children’s services manager Dawn Campbell said: “For the first time children and young people across the county can access confidential advice, information and guidance from specially trained nurses who have their health and wellbeing at the heart of everything they do.

“Young people have often told us that they want to be able to access support quickly when they need it, without the need for face to face contact, travelling to health venues or having to worry about what their friends or family think.”

ChatHealth will offer advice and guidance on everything from relationships, anxiety, depression and body image to stress, alcohol, self-harm and smoking.

Jo Wilson at Public Health Dorset said: “The launch of ChatHealth is an exciting addition to the Pan Dorset School Nursing service, making it even easier for young people to access the information and support they need digitally in order to have good health and wellbeing.

“This is a really positive step in our local transformation programme for school nursing, demonstrating a commitment by all partners involved to better respond to the needs of children and young people in an innovative and timely way”.

ChatHealth will be available at the touch of a button 8.30am to 4.40pm Monday to Friday, including school holidays but excluding bank holidays.

If a text is sent outside these hours the sender will receive an automated message with advice on where to get help if they require it urgently and a nurse will reply to the message when the service reopens.

For more information on ChatHealth, visit the school nursing pages of www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk

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