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Pupils know help is just an instant message away

Doncaster’s school nursing team are making sure the current lockdown is no barrier to providing confidential advice to young people who need their help – thanks to an easily downloaded free app.

eClinic is an instant messaging app enabling registered users aged 11 to 19 to schedule a confidential online appointment with their school nurse, where they can have a ‘live’ discussion about any health problems they are having.

“More than 450 secondary school pupils have downloaded the app and are now registered with us, said Samantha Foxton, a Specialist Community Public Health Nurse with Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH).

“The app was developed by RDaSH IT staff, with some external support, in response to feedback from pupils who wanted a method of being able to contact our team outside school hours, when they needed some advice. We are contacted regularly by our pupils when they require support for self-harm, suicidal thoughts, physical and sexual health matters, family, friendship and relationship issues and body image problems. The list is not exhaustive and we would encourage a young person to talk to us about any concerns, especially at the present time when they have limited access to support

“We are also in the process of enabling parents to access the eClinic system so they can contact us about any health issues their child – or children – could be experiencing.”

“Anecdotally, we know that some young people currently have low mood due to a lack of routine and others are feeling anxious about the pandemic. Although our team cannot currently see pupils face to face, we are literally only at the other end of a ‘phone or tablet for those who need us, wherever they are.”

The eClinic app can be downloaded to any Apple or Android device using the App Store or Google Play Store. A similar e Clinic app has also been designed for Doncaster’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and other RDaSH teams are set to roll out versions tailored for their own services.