Txtm8: Text only sexual health and advice service for 16-25 year olds in London Boroughs

Providing 24/7 sexual health advice for young people by SMS. 

Providing crucial sex and relationship information to young people is always a challenge; and responding to enquiries 24 hours a day can be even more difficult.

A new public-funded service has been launched, in which specialist health workers reply by text to answer sexual health and relationship queries for young people. The team is available at all times and responds within 30 minutes of each enquiry.

Living Well is an independent not-for-profit social enterprise that focuses on the development and delivery of innovative health services, supporting people from a young age. Its aim is to improve the quality of people’s lives through helping them to help themselves.

With text messaging used by 90% of 16 to 24-year-olds at least once a day, according to Ofcom’s Communications Market Report, Living Well introduced txtm8 – a free text message advice service for young people.

txtm8, supported by the NHS, local authorities, the London Sexual Health Programme and the Mayor of London’s Peer Outreach Team, helps young people to find out more about topics ranging from relationships and emotional wellbeing to sexual health.

As many young people can feel embarrassed talking to strangers about sensitive issues such as sexual health, this service allows them to access potentially life-changing information through a channel they are comfortable with, in easily understandable language.

Whether their enquiry is about a relationship issue, a health concern or sexuality issues, operators are always available to help those in need.

txtm8 advisers can also direct users to relevant local services and clinics they can turn to for free confidential support, contraception advice, testing, treatment and further advice.

What makes txtm8 so effective is that real people reply to users around the clock, providing a highly personalised and responsive service.

txtm8’s service is provided by Connect Assist and our specialist team members are on hand every day of the year to answer all manner of enquiries.

Our staff members are trained by Living Well in areas such as relationships, sexual health, sexuality, teenage pregnancy, contraception and child protection.

Demand for the service grows year on year, and txtm8 has helped thousands of young people since it was first established in 2009.

Simon Jones, Director Youth Services at Living Well txtm8, said:

“Our partnership with Connect Assist has enabled our text message service to help young people access crucial information in a way they feel comfortable with.

“We’re always looking to find innovative ways of helping young people seek advice on the often tricky subjects of relationships and sexual health. This service is certainly a strong example of that.”

At Connect Assist, we understand that it’s not always easy talking aloud about certain issues, but what is most important is that young people feel safe and supported and that they receive clear advice in a format that they can easily engage with and understand.

Our specialist team are proud to provide this advice, and are committed to helping young people in their time of need, twenty four hours a day.

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