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New Mental Health Innovations report finds Shout as a suicide prevention service saved £252m to the economy in our first three years

Our parent charity Mental Health Innovations has launched a new report looking at the cost efficacy of Shout as a suicide prevention service. A 'break even analysis' was conducted by independent experts, looking at the service costs, the bare minimum amount of lives Shout saves and the impact on the UK economy. The report concludes that the service has saved the UK economy £252m to date and is therefore a highly cost effective means of suicide prevention, at scale.

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The report, Shout’s role in UK suicide prevention and the economic benefits brings together evidence from the first external analyses of Shout from Frontier Economics and the Institute for Global Health Innovation, Imperial College, alongside evidence from the Metropolitan Police to determine the financial and practical impact of the text service.

The Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, former Secretary of State for Health and Social Care said: “Shout and their volunteers are at the forefront of digital innovation in suicide prevention and are making a huge difference. I saw the importance of their work as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and this report highlights once again the incredible impact they have.”

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Speaking at an event at the Royal Society of Chemistry to mark the report’s launch, he said: “Every 90 minutes someone loses their life to suicide. This report is not only timely but needed. Provided with the right level of resources and finance, Shout can achieve incredible outcomes.”

Key findings from the report have found that Shout is a value for money suicide prevention service; the service prevents far more deaths than the 3 suicides per year that equate to a break-even on the service costs. At a cost of £10 per conversation, the report finds that Shout is cost-saving to public health and emergency services and is likely to offer further savings to the rest of the economy.

Across the UK, suicide and intentional self-harm is currently the leading cause of death among children and young adults aged 5-34. At Shout, 83% of people who texted us are age 34 and under. As a digital service, Shout has the unique potential to save young lives at scale and support people who are not likely to be in touch with other support services or haven’t told anyone else about how they’re feeling.

Between 2012 and 2021, the number of girls and women aged 10-24 dying by suicide has increased by 133%. Girls and women account for 77% of Shout’s texters aged under 25, making the service positioned to save the lives of girls and young women.

During the event, Shout beneficiary turned volunteer Emily shared her own lived experiences of mental health illness and how she reached out to Shout for support after struggling with a diagnosis of Bipolar Disease. Speaking to the audience, Emily said: “Shout helped me come to terms with my BPD diagnosis. I felt less alone, they listened and took me from a moment where I didn’t see a way out with this illness to knowing it was going to be okay.”

She added: “After I used Shout, I decided I wanted to give back and help support others through volunteering.”

Victoria Hornby OBE, Chief Executive of Mental Health Innovations, said: “Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy, yet suicide is often preventable and not inevitable. Shout provides a crucial moment of connection for the hundreds of children, young people and adults who contact us every day for support with suicidal thoughts and intentions. Not only does Shout save lives but, in doing so, it also delivers significant cost-savings for the UK economy. To continue achieving these important outcomes for those at risk of suicide, their families and wider society, further investment in preventative services, like Shout, is crucial.”