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Through Shout’s digital platform we can help people who haven’t found support anywhere else. 48% of our texters say they prefer to text rather than talk about private things and 34% are too embarrassed to talk on the phone. 48% of our texters want to talk to someone who they don’t know and 55% don’t have anyone else to talk to.

We reach a broad range of vulnerable audiences who value our service, including those in poverty, people who are autistic and the LGBTQ+ community.

The majority (62%) of Shout’s texters are under 25-years-old and find it natural to seek support via digital means.

Graphs showing age of texters and the sexuality and gender split of Shout texters.png

The ethnicity breakdown in Shout texters and busiest times.png

Percentages of Shout users by area in the UK. Shout is used by people across the length and breadth of the UK with reach into communities across the nation.

Shout is used by people across the length and breadth of the UK with reach into communities across the nation.

Children and young people

Shout’s digital platform particularly appeals to young people, with 62% of texters aged under 25, making it an accessible lifeline for those who are digitally connected from an early age.

Shout users have become ever younger since we first launched. We have seen an 86% growth in the number of our youngest texters aged 13 or under since 2020, with the percentage of all texters in this age group growing from 7% to 13% since launch. The growth was driven following a surge of viral TikTok posts in January 2022 featuring Shout.

We took 5,200 conversations in a single day as a huge number of children and young adults sought mental health support all through the night.

“Many of the young texters that make contact do not feel able to have a physical conversation about how they are feeling. Having this text service provides them with a safe space to be heard, however major or minor their issue.”

Shout Volunteer

Case study - Caitlyn

Caitlyn started struggling with her mental health in her early teens and texted Shout while she was at school. She found it hard to talk about how she was feeling, so the idea of text messaging was appealing. Caitlin created a safety plan with her Shout Volunteer and managed to get through her crisis safely.

“I just want people to know that it’s 100% okay to ask for help. Shout is a very helpful service, full of very kind people. You are never alone.”

Shout texter Caitlyn.png

Issues facing our young texters

Suicide rates among 15- to 19-year-olds in England have reached their highest point in 30 years and suicide is the most common reason those under 18 text Shout, accounting for 38% of their conversations.

Our younger texters are far more likely to discuss self-harm than all texters. Self-harm is an issue in 16% of all Shout conversations and this rises to 24% of conversations with texters aged 14-17 and 30% of conversations with texters aged 13 or under.

“I took a conversation with a 13-year-old with urges to
self-harm and family issues at home. We talked about what was making them feel that self-harm was the only way to
find relief, as well as some alternatives that wouldn’t
cause them any harm.”

Shout Volunteer

Bullying was an issue in 5% of conversations with children under the age of 18; more than double the rate seen in all conversations (2%). In the majority of these conversations, texters were being bullied by schoolmates, and they were predominantly concerned with in-person bullying.

“I am so grateful to get the support I did, as I now have the confidence to stop the bullying I experience.”

Shout texter


More than one million of our conversations have been with school, university and college students. 15% of Shout texters are in higher education, navigating significant change in their lives and coping with the pressures of studying and exams, managing personal finances and making new friends can all be difficult.

“I sometimes feel I don’t have anybody to talk to about my emotions because I don’t want to worry friends and family... So to speak to somebody I don’t know helps.”

Shout student texter feedback

The Covid-19 pandemic added to the difficulties faced by students and Shout was ideally placed to support large numbers of students at a time when they were unable to access face-to-face services.

We were able to significantly scale-up our offer to students by collaborating with key organisations such as Student Minds to provide a range of holistic support to students in a moment of acute need.

“What you do is amazing and I cannot thank you enough for what you did. You saved my life today.”

Shout student texter

Case study - Emily

Emily had recently been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and was feeling isolated when she contacted Shout for help. Living in busy student halls where she could be overheard having a conversation, the silent and discreet nature of Shout appealed. As a 24/7 service, Shout was there for Emily when her care teams were unavailable.

“The volunteer listened to all my worries about my illness and how much I was struggling with my diagnosis. They didn’t tell me what to do or how to feel, instead empowering me to make my own decisions about my care and what I needed at that time.”

Thanks to the support she received, Emily has gone on to become a Shout Volunteer, having been inspired by the volunteer who helped her when she needed it the most.


Those in poverty

While 3% of our conversations are with texters specifically contacting us about financial difficulties, we are contacted every day by hundreds by people who are much more likely to be in poverty and impacted by the cost of living crisis.

Among children who contact the service, 25% of texters under the age of 18 are from a disadvantaged background and in receipt of free school meals.

More than a fifth (21%) of adult texters are unemployed. Additionally, we see demand for Shout across the UK correlating with national indices of deprivation. This means that people from more deprived areas in the UK are more likely to contact Shout than those living in the least deprived areas.

Autistic texters

Of autistic adults, 90% are thought to have a co-occurring mental health disorder so it is no surprise that our texter population is considerably more likely to report being autistic (14%) than the UK population (around 1%). Studies have shown that verbal or in-person social interactions can be perceived as stressful by people who have autism and 58% of autistic texters say they are more comfortable texting than talking about private things.

“Many autistic texters appreciate the time and space to talk by text, the technology suits them, there is no pressure to respond straight away.”

Shout Volunteer

“I am autistic and often find it easier to type how I’m feeling and you really supported me and listened to me through a very difficult distressing moment to make me feel more in control and like someone listened to me.”

Shout texter

Middle-aged men

Men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women, with men aged 40-59 being the highest risk group for suicide based on age and gender demographics. Despite this, many men are unlikely to seek support or speak to others about their experiences or emotions. Men are four times less likely to text Shout for support with their mental health than women (18% vs 75%) and 42% of Shout’s male texters have never asked for help elsewhere.

Shout works in partnership with a diverse range of organisations who work with male audiences to extend the reach of Shout and to help men start a conversation about their mental health. Partners since launch include Harry’s, The Burnt Chef Project, Newcastle United Foundation, Lighthouse Club and Tough Enough to Care.

“You’ve helped me more in the last hour than anyone else has in 32 years. I’m genuinely in tears, there’s an option other than death.”

Male Shout texter

Girls and women

Of our first two million conversations, 1.5 million have been with 528,000 female texters. Key issues faced by women are suicide (38%), anxiety/stress (34%) and depression (32%). While males mention self-harm in 9% of conversations, females mention it in 20%. They are also twice as likely to mention eating disorders and body image compared to males.

“I had a conversation with a middle-aged woman struggling with suicidal thoughts who couldn’t see a way forward and believed their children would be better off without them. We explored ways together to try and make things a bit more manageable and to take small, manageable steps and
self-care to boost their self-worth.”

Shout Volunteer

Case study - Dove

In 2023, we supported Dove’s self-esteem campaign, with the film signposting viewers affected by the issues it raised to Shout. The campaign raised awareness of harmful beauty content on social media and encouraged platforms to implement new design standards to make social media safer for young people.

Perinatal texters

Perinatal mental illness in England can affect up to 27% of pregnant and new mothers and 20% of women who suffer with perinatal mental health conditions will experience suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harm.

For many parents, having someone to talk to anonymously and in confidence can help during a time in their lives when they might find it hard to let friends and family know they are struggling. Over the last four years, Shout has taken 53,000 conversations about pregnancy or baby-related topics.

In 2023 we convened a roundtable of experts in perinatal mental health including representatives from The Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Maternal Mental Health Alliance (MMHA) and the NHS, to discuss how digital services such as Shout can play a key role in delivering positive outcomes alongside traditional pathways across the UK.

We have also partnered with PANDAS Foundation, Best Beginnings and MumsAid to provide support to their audiences.

“I spoke with a texter that was finding it hard to manage the feeling of isolation that came after having her baby. She felt alone and incapable of being a good mum. We worked together to find some positives to what had been going on in her life and I was able to encourage her to seek support from her GP.”

Shout Volunteer

LGBTQ+ community

LGBTQ+ people are two to three times more likely than heterosexual people to report having a mental health problem in England, yet they find it hard to access mental health support, often finding services to be discriminatory.

The LGBTQ+ community is over-represented among users of the Shout service; whereas just 3% of the UK population identify as LGB, 38% of Shout texters identify as LGBTQ+. We have had around 880,000 conversations with around 255,000 members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Thank you so much for all your help. I just thought about coming out, and I’m going to build up the courage to tell my mum about how I’m struggling with my sexuality and how I find it difficult.”

Shout texter

Poor mental health is exceptionally common in prison, with 45% of adults experiencing anxiety or depression and nine out of ten prisoners having at least one mental health or substance misuse problem.

In 2023 Shout launched a groundbreaking pilot with Serco, which runs six male prisons across the UK, to offer 24/7 crisis support via a messaging service to people in prison via their in-cell technology. The service has seen a significant take up with more than 650 conversations with prisoners reaching out for support with their mental health. The service, which was trialled in London’s HMP Thameside, will be extended to an additional two prisons in 2023.

“Thank you - you was a great help for me today and now I know I have somewhere to go when I'm feeling low and suicidal, you are a kind person with a big heart.”

Shout texter in prison

Shout website and social media reach

We extend our reach by providing support to people via our website and social media accounts. Over the course of two million Shout conversations, our website has been visited by three million people who have generated seven million page views as they browsed relatable case studies and downloaded helpful resources.

Through our website we reach and support a broader audience than through the service alone. 37% of our website visitors who are aged over 18 are male.

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We have built up a combined social media following of 166,000 people. Through our social and web channels we provide educational material via infographics, blogs and videos to help support and improve supporters’ mental health, as well as inspirational content such as testimonials from our texters, case study stories, illustrations and peer-to peer tips.