We use necessary cookies that allow our site to work. We also set optional cookies that help us improve our website. For more information about the types of cookies we use, visit our Cookies policy.

Cookie settings
Half a Million conversations in a pandemic report header image

Why text is such a powerful medium for mental health support

Because Shout 85258 is a text service, the mental health support that we provide is uniquely discreet, accessible, confidential and anonymous. Our texters have contacted us from school, work, while travelling or at home, and each time have been able to have a private and silent conversation, without being overheard.


Thank you for helping me. I’ve never done anything like this before and I hate talking on the phone so it’s nice to have a text service. I was worried about doing this but I’m glad I did, you calmed me down and put my mind at ease.

Texter feedback


Some texters say they are more comfortable texting rather than trying to express their feelings verbally. It enables them to be anonymous if the subject is too painful, embarrassing or life changing.

Sheenu, Shout Volunteer

Nearly half of the people who have texted us felt more comfortable texting than talking about private issues (48%). Text offers them an alternative way to open up and share the problems they haven’t been able to speak out loud. It also gives people a valuable and lasting record of their action plan that they can return to whenever they need to, or use as a starting point for a conversation with a parent or GP.



I could feel your kindness and compassion coming through the texts which is rare to find on phone services. I needed it after feeling extremely isolated and alone during this time.

Texter feedback

38% of people who contacted Shout have never asked for help anywhere else and 55% told us they didn’t feel they had anyone else to talk to.

Digital is the default means of communication for children and young people and texting, rather than talking, is a natural way for them to reach out for help. Shout has also provided a valuable lifeline for many people in a year when face to face support has often not been possible. In response to the pandemic, as a digital organisation we were able to continue operating as we always do, with volunteers taking conversations from home.

Shout volunteer_.jpg


During the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become increasingly obvious just how important digital services are. Text is a powerful medium, not only because people can seek help the moment they need it, but also because it is widely adopted by young people as a method of communicating they are adept at and comfortable with.

Dr Fiona Pienaar, Senior Clinical Advisor, Mental Health Innovations

For sections of society such as the Deaf community, text offers a form of communication that is fully accessible. In fact, we have both Deaf texters and volunteers on the platform.

For others, particularly key workers who have been working under the pressures of the pandemic, text offers a way to remain anonymous and speak to someone in a non-judgemental environment.


Download the report: