We’re excited to announce the launch of our Let It Out campaign, funded by Harry’s, to encourage young Black boys and men to access mental health support through Shout 85258, our free, 24/7 text messaging support service.
Despite being a community that is affected worse than many by mental ill health, young Black boys and men face significant barriers to getting the mental health support they need and are currently underrepresented in Shout 85258 users.
Young men from Black communities in the UK have higher levels of diagnosed severe mental illness than other communities and are more likely to face multiple risk factors for poor mental health including the stresses of living in poverty, employment insecurity and experiences of racism. The pandemic has further widened these mental health inequalities.
We conducted research through agency The Outsiders to inform the campaign, which found that many young Black boys and men are struggling with their mental health but are often reluctant to open up about their worries because they feel a pressure to come across as strong and not overly emotional.
We worked with community interest company Create Not Hate to translate the insights into a behaviour change marketing campaign. The creative was developed in collaboration with diverse groups of young people through workshops where industry mentors helped turn the initial ideas into a fully fledged campaign.
Our aim was to create an authentic campaign that will encourage young Black boys and men to take their mental health seriously, to try to open up and share their emotions instead of masking them, and to use our text service to seek help if they need it. Whatever’s going on, they can text LET IT OUT to 85258 for free support, 24/7.
Dr Amanda Brown-Bennett, Clinical Supervisor and Chair of Diversity and Inclusion for Shout 85258, said:
“We know that too few young Black boys and men are currently contacting Shout 85258 for support, despite being affected worse than many by mental ill health. We’re launching this campaign to reach a broader demographic and to let anyone who needs support know that Shout 85258 is there for them, 24/7. The service is free and confidential and, as conversations are via text message, it’s a silent and anonymous way for people to reach out for help with issues such as discrimination, identity issues, abuse, depression or suicide. Text 'LET IT OUT' to 85258 at any time of day or night for free support."
From today, people will be able to see the campaign on outdoor billboards and digital displays in shopping centres across the UK, with a digital campaign launching next week.
Find out more about our Let It Out campaign.