Young people across the county can access support in the current unsettling times via a secure and confidential text messaging service called ChatHealth.
The anonymous service gives anyone aged 11-19 a way to get in touch with a healthcare professional for advice.
Guidance can be given on sexual or emotional health, alcohol, drugs, smoking and other things that may be getting in the way of having a good quality life.
Just send a text message to 07480 635511 and a member of the Dorset HealthCare’s School Nursing Team will reply.
ChatHealth in Dorset has now been running for three years, and since its launch the service has received more than 7,300 messages from young people seeking help or advice.
The most common topics people want to discuss have related to self-esteem, anxiety, depression, low mood and self-harm.
Young people who have benefited from ChatHealth have said:
- “Really simple and helpful advice. Straight to the point and exactly what I was looking for.”
- “I’m glad I could talk to you… You and your co-workers are amazing.”
- “Thank you, I’m feeling a lot better.”
Hanna New, a Specialist Practitioner for the School Nursing Team at Dorset HealthCare, said:
“During the COVID-19 pandemic we know that some young people have been finding life more difficult. We want to reassure young people across Dorset that we are ‘here for you’.
“We want to encourage those that need support to text us so we can help during these unprecedented times – especially as many people aren’t at school and so can’t access the support schools provide on a day-to-day basis.”
The ChatHealth service is available Monday to Friday, 8.30am - 4.30pm, excluding bank holidays. Anyone trying to reach the service out of hours will receive a message letting them know when they will get a response and signposting to further support.
For further information about the service and support available for parents, carers and young people, visit www.dorsethealthcare.nhs.uk/school-nursing