Shout, our text messaging support service, has taken one million conversations with 400,000 children, young people and adults across the UK who are struggling to cope.
To mark this milestone, earlier today HRH The Duchess of Cambridge helped us thank some of our incredible Shout Volunteers, fundraisers and clinicians for their invaluable efforts in helping us provide one million hours of support to people in immediate distress.
Upon arrival, The Duchess was welcomed by our Chief Executive, Victoria Hornby OBE, who spoke about how conversation numbers have increased by 140% during the Covid-19 pandemic and are continuing to rise. To ensure we can provide help to anyone who needs it, she explained that we are urging more people to join our pioneering community of Shout Volunteers.
The Duchess then met with our Trustee, Dr Jean O'Hara FRCPsych and our Director of Data Insights, Mark Ungless, who discussed how analysis of unique data from our first million conversations can help us better understand the scale of the nation’s mental health needs and experiences.
Key findings from our first million conversations
- Suicide (34%), depression (32%) and anxiety or stress (31%) are the main reasons people have texted Shout for support, closely followed by relationships (25%), loneliness (16%) and self-harm (14%)
- Around 35% of our texters are school-aged children who are feeling overwhelmed and often suicidal, meaning we have provided in the moment support to one child in every secondary school classroom in the UK
- At a time when traditional mental health services are overwhelmed, Shout is improving access to digital mental health support and early intervention on a national scale:
- 74% of conversations take place outside the hours of 9am-5pm, when the majority of mental health services are unavailable
- 43% of texters say it is the first time they have asked for help, largely due to the availability of the service round the clock, the anonymity of the service and finding it easier to text than to talk about their worries out loud
- From around 340,000 text conversations relating to suicide, Shout Volunteers have actioned 14,458 active rescues; this is when de-escalation is not possible and a texter is at imminent risk of suicide, so the police are alerted
The Duchess was given a live demonstration of the Shout platform and met a Shout beneficiary and fundraisers.
The Duchess then spoke with and thanked some of our dedicated volunteers, who shared their experiences of helping those who are anxious, stressed, depressed, suicidal or overwhelmed and who need immediate support and described how their experiences have had a positive impact on their lives beyond volunteering.
Volunteering for Shout
Throughout January, Shout Volunteers have been taking 1,800 conversations a day with people struggling to cope. As demand for support continues to grow, our Chief Executive is leading the call for members of the public to help us take our next million conversations by applying to become a volunteer today.
Victoria Hornby OBE, Chief Executive, said:
“We would like to thank The Duchess of Cambridge for helping us to celebrate the commitment of our outstanding volunteers, fundraisers and clinicians who have made it possible for us to provide one million hours of mental health support to people in immediate distress. The support of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation has helped hundreds of thousands of people to get the help they need.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on the mental health of the nation and demand for support has surged. To ensure we can continue to be there for everyone who needs us, 24/7, we are asking members of the public to join our pioneering community of volunteers today. You could help save a life.”
Shout Volunteers receive 25 hours of free, in-depth mental health communication training and ongoing dedicated coaching to help others while developing skills for work and life. Our volunteers say that their role helps improve their wellbeing and gives them a stronger sense of accomplishment by helping people in the moment they need it most.
Find out more about volunteering for Shout.