An innovative health text service which is already in use locally but due to be expanded in North East Lincolnshire next year has won a Nursing Times Award.
The ChatHealth service, which is currently used by the Council’s school nursing team, won the Nursing in Mental Health category following praise nationally.
ChatHealth is an anonymous text messaging service offering free, trusted healthcare advice and support. The service was developed and supported by Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust in 2013, and has since been implemented by more than 50 NHS Trusts and healthcare organisations across the UK.
The service is expected to be rolled out for use by the Council’s Health Visiting service, ensuring that families get access to free, impartial advice when needed.
Councillor Margaret Cracknell, portfolio holder for health, wellbeing and adult social care in North East Lincolnshire, said: “I’m really pleased to see that ChatHealth is receiving such high praise from both the medical community and members of the public.
“We are planning to roll out the service for families locally from January following success with our school nurses, so it is really reassuring to know that very soon local families will be able to take advantage of this great offer.
“The feedback from our young people who already have access to this service has been very encouraging.”
Young people aged between 11 and 18 years old living in North East Lincolnshire can access the School Nursing text service on 07507 331620 for a range of health-related advice.
ChatHealth was selected from a category of 11 fantastic entries in the Nursing in Mental Health category. Judges praised the fact that ChatHealth provided an innovative solution to accessing mental health support, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. They felt it had a great reach, and liked the fact that it gave coverage to social issues as well as mental health support. They were particularly impressed by the robustness of the evaluation and the evidence supporting the initiative.
Evidence has shown that young people in particular like the fact that ChatHealth enables them to make discreet contact with health professionals ‘behind a screen’ while busy parents value its convenience.
Following a ChatHealth conversation, one young person commented: “I love that it’s anonymous and that it’s a texting service. That means you can openly talk about your problems freely without feeling nervous.”
To find out more about ChatHealth, visit www.chathealth.nhs.uk.