PUPILS in need of health advice can anonymously text a school nurse for support, thanks to ChatHealth.

The scheme is being launched by school nurses in Southend and aims to give young people an anonymous way to contact registered professionals from the school nursing team.

The service, available to 11-19-year-olds, aims to offer a way for pupils to discuss they physical and emotional health concerns.

This service could provide an alternative option for youngsters struggling to get support and advice.

Councillor Anne Jones, cabinet member for children and learning at Southend Council, said: “This is a fantastic initiative to help reach those children who, for whatever reason, are finding it difficult to cross the threshold into the school nurses’ drop-in sessions in schools.

“The nurses have explained how they see some children walk past their door, desperate to reach out but unable to. This will give them an anonymous way of getting the help and advice they need.

“Young people will also be given to the opportunity for face to face contact with a nurse if they require this.

“When many of us were at school, the nurse was there to deliver physical first aid and monitor general health, but it has changed so that nurses support children and young people with emotional health related issues, especially stress and anxiety relating to the academic environment.

“ChatHealth has been successfully launched in other areas with good effect and we’re hoping for a similar response here.”

The service launched across Southend at the start of September as children returned to school, and can be used by all secondary school pupils in the borough.

Each young person will be asked if they want to give their name so their health records can be updated, but they can also remain anonymous if they wish.

Messages can be sent at any time to 07520 649895, and a school nurse will respond between 9.30am and 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.