The UK’s first 24/7 crisis messaging service for anyone, anytime, anywhere

Shout staff celebrate the launch of the service.
“Thank you so much. I find it hard to talk on the phone because I get choked up when trying to explain things. You made me feel like somebody actually cared and really helped me out at a difficult time.”
A young woman, aged 21, who had a text conversation discussing anxiety, stress and suicidal thoughts.
Image Image
Crisis Volunteer, Angus, takes a shift from his sofa at home.

“I appreciate everything you have done for me! You’ve helped me more than anyone has in the past 12 months so I’m so thankful. I hope when I am healed I can go on to help and teach other young people about mental health and that you can speak up when you are in an abusive horrible relationship! I thank you so much”A 15-year-old texter seeking help with emotional, physical and sexual abuse.

If a person is having a mental health crisis and needs support, they can speak to a Crisis Volunteer by texting the word Shout to 85258

If you'd like to learn more about this project, please visit their website: giveusashout.org

The Mohn Westlake Foundation's support is enabling Mental Health Innovations to develop and scale Shout, the UK’s first 24/7 crisis messaging service for anyone, anytime, anywhere. Shout uses the same proven model and technology as Crisis Text Line in the US, which has been in operation since 2013 and supports hundreds of thousands of texters each year.

Image

Shout is powered by an army of Crisis Volunteers who take shifts remotely, supported on an online platform by trained clinical supervisors. For the texter, there is no registration process, the conversation is anonymous, silent, and free and off-bill with most mobile providers. To date, Shout has supported over 160,000 conversations, and provides help to around 700 people in crisis every day. Texters’ presenting issues vary widely. Depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts feature prominently, but relationship/friendship issues, self-harm and problems at school are also common amongst younger texters.

The Shout pilot began with partner charities: The Mix, YoungMinds and Place2Be in May 2018 and was marketed as a ‘white-label’ service. It was launched publicly a year later, in May 2019, with an appeal from The Duke of Cambridge for more people to train as Crisis Volunteers. The response was overwhelmingly positive and the Shout Crisis Volunteer base now consists of around 1,500 incredible, passionate individuals spread all over the UK. Around 1,000 more are currently in training. The training is 25 hours and all takes place online, with support from coaches.

Image
Crisis Volunteer, Angus, takes a shift from his sofa at home.

Shout’s text conversations are generating an unprecedented body of anonymised data, which can be harnessed by Mental Health Innovations and the wider mental health sector to provide an improved service as well as additional support. Mental Health Innovations is working in partnership with Imperial College London to best understand the data and to identify what support could be valuable for specific groups and demographics.

With increased capacity and a growing volunteer base, the focus for Shout into 2020 is to market the service widely across the UK, to reach more people who need help in moments of crisis.


Share this Post