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Leeds Community Healthcare launches ChatHealth

 Leeds Community Healthcare ChatHealth

Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust’s 0-19 Service has launched a new text messaging service, ChatHealth, to give young people direct access to expert healthcare advice and support via their mobile phone.

All young people in Leeds aged 11-19 can now receive confidential support from a 0-19 Specialist Public Health Nurse (previously known as a School Nurse), on a range of health related issues. These include: sexual health, emotional health and wellbeing, bullying, healthy eating and any other general health concerns.

ChatHealth is available Monday to Friday between 8.30am and 4.30pm, excluding bank holidays. Messages are responded to within one working day within these hours. Outside these hours, anyone sending a message to the service will receive an automated reply with advice on where to get help if their enquiry is urgent. The number for young people to text is 07520619750.

Debra Gill, Head of Service for the 0-19 Public Health Integrated Nursing Service, at Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “We are very excited to launch ChatHealth. With more and more children and young people using hand-held mobile devices in their daily lives, ChatHealth provides an accessible way for young people to confidentially ask for help or information about a range of issues from specially trained nurses.”

Children and young people can still get in touch with a 0-19 Specialist Public Health Nurse in the same way they did before, via the 0-19 Single Point of Access on 0113 843 5683. They can also still access face-to-face support from a 0-19 Specialist Public Health Nurse.

Although the service is confidential and young people do not need to disclose their name, if there is concern for an individual’s safety, there are safeguarding procedures to follow.

The new service has already started to be rolled out to all secondary schools across Leeds and has been welcomed by pupils. One young person said: “I would definitely message the service if I needed to. The best thing about it is that you can text rather than have to talk to someone and it’s confidential.”

The 0-19 Public Health Integrated Nursing Services is funded by Leeds City Council and delivered by Leeds Community NHS Healthcare Trust. Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Leeds City Council executive member for health, wellbeing and adults, said: “Chathealth is a fantastic new way for young people to access professional health advice and support, no matter what the problem is.  We have a duty to ensure that we offer services in a way that appeals to the people who need them and confidential text messages do just that.

“The new service is a wonderful example of how partnership working can be used to invest in and improve health and wellbeing services for children and young people across the city and I hope that the ease of the service means that young people feel confident and comfortable using it.”

You can view what young people think about ChatHealth and safety information on https://www.leedscommunityhealthcare.nhs.uk/chathealth

What to do if you need to speak to someone urgently...