Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) is celebrating success at the recent Nursing Times Awards, where its innovative text messaging service, ChatHealth, was named the winner in the Nursing in Mental Health category.

ChatHealth was originally developed within LPT’s school nursing service in 2013 as a means for young people to access trusted healthcare advice and support, and the Trust has since expanded the service to parents and carers of children aged 0-19, as well as to people needing perinatal mental health advice. In addition, ChatHealth has been implemented by more than 50 NHS Trusts and healthcare organisations across the country for use across a variety of healthcare services.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Nursing Times Awards, which showcase innovation and best practice within nursing across the UK, and the virtual awards ceremony was broadcast live online.

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.

Accepting the award on behalf of the 2,000-strong community of ChatHealth nurses, clinical lead, Caroline Palmer, said: “This award is not just for the ChatHealth team in Leicestershire, but for all the teams across the country. ChatHealth nurses offer mental health and wellbeing support day in and day out, and it’s wonderful for them to be recognised in this way. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on usage, and demand for ChatHealth text services has massively increased in recent months with as many implementations going live in the last six months as there was in the whole previous year.”

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.”

Helen Thompson, director of families, young people and children’s services and learning disability services at LPT said: “It’s phenomenal to see how ChatHealth has grown over the last seven years. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was clear that people were increasingly looking for health services to become more accessible, so that they could get trusted advice and support as and when they needed it. ChatHealth has responded to that need. I’m so proud that ChatHealth has been recognised in these prestigious awards.”


Notes to editors

  • Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) provides community health, mental health and learning disabilities services for the one million people living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. We have a budget in excess of £275 million and employ approximately 5,500 staff. For more information visit: leicspart.nhs.uk. Our registered charity is called Raising Health (charity number 1057361). The charity fundraises to support excellent care initiatives, equipment and innovations which go above and beyond core NHS provision to enhance the experience of our patients, service users and staff. See www.raisinghealth.org.uk
  • The ChatHealth team seek interest from other providers who want to make potential service transformation to improve access to mental health support using digital technologies. For more information, visit chathealth.nhs.uk/adopt-chathealth Tel: 0116 215 3262 Email: chathealth@leicspart.nhs.uk

For further information contact: Laura Serra, marketing manager for the ChatHealth digital development team. Tel: 07384 877465 Email: laura.serra@leicspart.nhs.uk