We need your help to fund and deliver SMS:CONNECT | a FREE online Self-Management Service for children and young people living with long-term health conditions.
Why do we need your help?
In July 2020, we completed an innovative pilot for the SMS:CONNECT Programme - a safe, accessible online platform to support children and young people aged 10-17 with long-term health conditions - with exceptional results.
We have a large waiting list of people across Scotland who would like to access the Service, and we want to continue to deliver the Programme and, with your help, support more children and young people.
What is SMS:CONNECT?
Children and young people with long-term health conditions often feel isolated, lonely and lacking in self-confidence. Many also struggle with anxiety. SMS:CONNECT helps children and young people build their confidence, communication and coping skills, and friendships with others who understand and share their experiences. It was developed with the help of children and young people with long-term health conditions.
An online programme is important for these children and young people as many struggle with their health conditions, are unable to travel, or feel very anxious about meeting new people in person.
What happens during an SMS:CONNECT Programme?
SMS:CONNECT Programmes run for 6-weeks and are fun, informal and friendly. They offer:
- Twice weekly group sessions with games, activities and a focus on mental health and wellbeing.
- Opportunities for children and young people to talk with others online in a safe environment.
- Challenges to work on at home.
- Lots of information and resources.
- An SMS:CONNECT coach to support them.
What impact does SMS:CONNECT have?
21 children and young people took part in the pilot and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. We had fantastic uptake and retention over the 6-week Programme. All participants reported increases in confidence, self-esteem and communication skills – as well as telling us they had fun and made new friendships!
Feedback from parent : "Thank you all so much for everything you've done. It was always such a joy hearing Adam laughing during the zoom calls, and their energy was so positive afterwards as well. I really want to congratulate you on the fantastic organisation as well. I'm so impressed by it all. Adam loved receiving items by mail, and they really loved the personal notes of encouragement. And to top it all off, Adam also formed a lasting friendship with Susie. So thank you from the bottom of my heart for this incredible initiative and the help and hope you've provided. The SMS:CONNECT has really made a difference to Adam's mental health and is helping him to cope with his Chronic illness a bit better. Thank you so much!"
What happens after the Programme?
Upon completion of their SMS:CONNECT Programme, children and young people are encouraged to continue ‘connecting’ with their peers and Children's Health Scotland. They continue to get access to the chat forum and resources, and are offered opportunities for peer mentoring and volunteering.
How will your support be used?
Children's Health Scotland are incredibly grateful that SMS:CONNECT has been selected as a Project for the AVIVA Community Fund. Support received will be used to directly fund (youth workers, technical support and Programme materials) this vital and innovative service for children and young people in need of support.