The introduction of a confidential, sexual health text back service for teenage girls in Chester-le-Street.
The Durham and Chester-le-Street Primary Care Trust is primarily responsible for improving and maintaining the health of its local population. One of its aims is to meet the government’s targets to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancies, as Britain has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in Europe.
The idea for the sexual health text back service came from the increasing number of texts being received asking for advice on staff members mobile phones. It was time consuming to try to respond to these by text, as staff texting ability was no match for young peoples! Other concerns were monitoring the number of texts received and the information provided. It therefore seemed logical to develop a text service, especially since texting is the communication method of choice for many young people.
Young girls simple text to TP(space)GIRLS(space)followed by their question to 60003. They get an automated response thanking them for their message and letting them know a worker will get in touch shortly.
In the 15 months that the service has been running there have been over 150 requests for information or advice to the GIRLS service. It allows young people to access local information about services, where they can go for advice and support and also provides information about many issues that young people would be too embarrassed to talk about face to face, such as pregnancy concerns. The fact that it is anonymous and confidential has also helped break down barriers to accessing information.
So far the project has been successful and is an extremely cost effective service to engage with young people.
Active, Inclusive and Safe