We are committed to refining and scaling our service in order to improve the mental health of the UK population. As we progress towards our first million conversations with people in distress, the insights that we gain put us in a unique position to act. In addition, we are using our learnings to determine what new products and services Mental Health Innovations will seek to develop, to further support the mental health of the UK population.
We know there is work to be done to reach more male texters through Shout. Men are three times more likely than women to die by suicide, yet only 36% of referrals to NHS talking therapies are for men* and only 17% of our texters identify as male. As a free, confidential service we would like to explore how we encourage more men to reach out earlier for support with their mental health.
Black people are also underrepresented in our texter base, with 2% of respondents identifying as Black, compared with 3% of the UK population. To begin to address this, we are embarking on a pilot project where we will work with local London community groups to understand the barriers young
Black men have to using Shout, to inform the development of a behaviour change marketing campaign that we will then seek to roll out across other areas of the UK.
Through commissioned partnerships, we will also look to reach those from disadvantaged backgrounds. Target audiences include children in and on the edge of care and young parents.
*Source: Mental Health, men and mental health (https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/m/men-and-mental-health)
Striking in our analysis, is the unmet mental health need of those who have contacted us having never spoken to anyone else before, and the volume of young people who have reacted to seeing our number shared on social media and reached out for in-the-moment support.
We will continue to provide round the clock support by expanding our operations in New Zealand and the UK, as well as provide resources on our platform and website, guided by our clinical and data insights, to support our texters and better meet their needs.
Mental Health Innovations will look to develop new products and services based on the areas of need identified by our data analyses. We are currently considering developing support for particular groups of texters who appear to be in high need, or other groups that appear under-represented across the service for whom alternative services may be more helpful.
We will use our data insights to help design and shape those services using the latest data science techniques, artificial intelligence, and findings from our research partnerships, including with Imperial College London.