Today we release the first Mental Health Innovations (MHI) impact report, covering our achievements from launch in October 2017 - March 2021. Highlights from the report include:
- We have delivered £2.3m value to the third sector by providing a bespoke support service for free to beneficiaries of 41 charity partners
- We supported 277,841 people through the Shout 85258 text messaging support service
- Suicide, depression and anxiety are the most common issues of 668,435 conversations
- Demand for Shout doubled at peak of Covid-19 pandemic
- Shout is powered round the clock by 6,910 trained volunteers in UK and New Zealand to meet 24-hour demand
Victoria Hornby, CEO of Mental Health Innovations which powers Shout 85258, said: “Our mission to improve the mental health of the UK population through technology has never been as important as it is today. With the Covid-19 pandemic having such a wide, deep and enduring impact on the mental health of the nation, demand for digital mental health support has skyrocketed.
“We want to ensure that Shout 85258 is here for anyone who needs mental health support, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We will therefore continue to work with third sector, public sector and private organisations to extend our reach to underserved communities and those who are in the greatest need of support, but who don’t feel able to reach out to more traditional mental health services.”
MHI partners with Imperial College London’s Institute of Global Health Innovation who are taking novel approaches to understanding data, gathered from Shout’s anonymised conversations. This vast and unique dataset lets the charity rapidly analyse, at scale, the immediate needs and experiences of people in mental distress across the UK.
Lord Darzi, Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London, said: “Amidst the current global crisis, we have seen a rise in the number of people struggling with significant mental health burdens. The impact of Covid-19 will exacerbate the current demand for mental health services, placing strain on the system, and making investment in prevention of heightened importance. The rapid growth of Mental Health Innovations’ first digital service, Shout 85258, directly addresses this need.
“The immediacy of Shout can be vital to preventing mental health crisis by supporting people as soon as they need it, with the unique power to reach previously underserved communities, providing unrivalled insight into why so many people, particularly the young, are suffering with mental health problems today and how best to help them.
“Shout has benefited hundreds of thousands of people across the country to date and, although there is much work still to do, this success, together with a growing appetite to realise the enormous potential for heightened impact, augurs well for tangible progress ahead in tackling this most important challenge."