A popular children’s health advice service, pioneered by Walsall Healthcare’s School Nursing Team, that puts young people in direct touch with a school or college nurse via text has now been extended to their parents and carers, too.
‘Chat Health’ is a discreet text service that supports 10 -19 year-olds with any questions they may have about their health and wellbeing. The reassuring text service means that children can voice any concerns they have with a school nurse.
Questions will often vary depending on the age of the child, but can range from advice about immunisations, to weight issues and emotional wellbeing. For older children and young adults, it may involve questions about keeping healthy, their sexual health and relationships, or the effects of alcohol and drugs.
The confidential service, which has been in schools and colleges in the borough since 2016, is managed by Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, with support from Public Health. It has recently been made available to parents and carers. Family members might not always know how to respond to a particular health question from their child and need some extra support. Texting the Chat Health nurse for clear guidance will help them and their child at their own convenience and is an alternative to face to face, or phone contact.
Sallyann Sutton, Head of School Nursing, said;” Walsall’s Chat Health is already a great resource which quickly lets young people know that help and advice is only a text away. It makes perfect sense that parents now have access to the service too. Children may have already asked health-related questions at home, but before they answer, families might want some clear professional advice and guidance on how best to frame their response. Chat Health can reassure them with answers to everyone’s questions.”
Uma Viswanathan, Consultant in Public Health for Walsall Council added: “We are delighted that this extra support from qualified nurses has now been made available to parents. Being a parent is hard at times and this service will ensure that parents can gain health-related advice at a time and in a manner which is convenient for them.”