Text support service launches for Oldham's parents, carers and teens

Date published: 03 February 2021

A new confidential text messaging service has launched for young people, parents and carers across Oldham, Warrington and Halton.

Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has teamed up with ChatHealth, an award-winning messaging helpline platform providing a safe way for service users to anonymously get in touch with a healthcare professional via their mobile phone.

The Bridgewater 0-19 Service, covering Health Visiting and School Nursing, introduced this new way for young people, parents and carers to get confidential information, advice and support.

Professionals will be on hand to answer a variety of health and wellbeing issues including anxiety, bullying, child development and sexual health.

Talking about the new service being offered, Colin Scales, Bridgewater Chief Executive, said: “The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has meant that there has never been a more challenging time for young people, parents and carers.

“As we embrace another five weeks of lockdown, and school life being very different at the moment, ChatHealth is an added way to offer help and support to those living in Warrington, Halton and Oldham.

“Being able to share worries or anxieties in confidence with either a Health Visitor or School Nurse will make a big difference.

“In the current climate, Covid-19 means some of our face to face contact has reduced.

"The ChatHealth texting service is an extra way of us reaching out to our local teens, parents and carers so we can quickly provide advice and help prevent any problems becoming worse.”

ChatHealth works by messages being sent to a dedicated phone number.

These messages are then sent to a secure website and are read by a Bridgewater Health Visitor or School Nurse who can then start a text conversation with the sender.

The ChatHealth service across Oldham, Warrington and Halton is available 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday.

Outside of these hours, users will receive a ‘bounce back’ text message saying they will receive a response when the line next re-opens.

Of course, ChatHealth is not an emergency service, and accordingly users will receive an automatic message explaining where to get help if their question or concern is urgent, and when they can expect a response.

As our lives have changed over the last few months due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s more important than ever for young people and their families to have easy access to support, particularly in the absence of face to face interaction.

Here’s how to contact the ChatHealth service:

The text numbers for Oldham are:

11 - 19 Young People's Service – 07480 635992

0 - 5 Parents Service – 07480 635990

5 - 19 Parents Service – 07507 330499

Or you can visit: chathealth.nhs.uk to start a chat.

For medical help and advice outside of these hours, users are advised to call their GP, call 111, or dial 999 if it is an emergency.

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