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14 July 2020

55% LGBTQ+ texters use text message support service Shout 85258 as they have no one else to talk to

Shout 85258 has supported 43,129 LGBTQ+ texters over the past year

On the eve of Global Pride 2020, crisis text message service Shout 85258 reveals it has had 94,823 conversations with 43,129 texters identifying as LGBTQ+ since it launched just over a year ago, supporting them through moments of crisis. The free, 24/7, confidential service has at its heart a team of more than 2,000 Crisis Volunteers who take texters from crisis to calm, every single day.

Shout 85258 is the first service from independent charity Mental Health Innovations which uses data to improve the mental health of the UK population. The service, which was launched on 9 May 2019, is proving particularly popular among people identifying as LGBTQ+, who make up more than a third of texters (34%).

Data from Mental Health Innovations about the Shout 85258 service, estimated from post-conversation surveys completed in around 15% of overall conversations, reveals that:

  • 55% of texters who identified as LGBTQ+ texted Shout because they 'didn't have anyone else to talk to' and 60% because they 'felt more comfortable texting than talking about private things'.
  • 68% of texters who identified as LGBTQ+ are aged 14-24 years old
  • 46% of all texters aged under 18 and 28% of texters aged 18 or older identified as LGBTQ+
  • Texters who identified as LGBTQ+ are most likely to talk about was suicide (38% of all conversations), with other issues being depression (32%), anxiety (32%) and loneliness (17%)
  • Texters who identified as LGBTQ+ were 40% more likely to mention self-harm than other texters (21% versus 15%)

Shout 85258 has had more than 4,500 additional conversations with LGBTQ+ texters since lockdown.

Victoria Hornby, CEO Of Mental Health Innovations, which powers Shout 85258, said:

Shout 85258 provides people who identify as LGBTQ+, the opportunity to have a text conversation with a trained volunteer anytime of day or night, wherever they might be. Most LGBTQ+ texters are under 24, have never asked for help before and felt they had nowhere else to turn for support. During the Covid-19 lockdown our Crisis Volunteers have been supporting young people who have felt unable to express themselves fully at home and who are cut off from their usual sources of support - be that school, university, work, friends, youth clubs and youth workers. Given the higher incidences of mental health problems and bullying or harassment experienced by people who identify as LGBTQ+, often from a young age, we want to make sure that the first time someone asks for help, they feel listened to, supported and able to ask for help again in the future.”

Dr Mark Ungless, Director of Data Insights at Mental Health Innovations, said:We’re pleased to see that Shout 85258 is providing a popular and effective service for the LGBTQ+ community. Many of our LGBTQ+ texters don’t feel like they have anyone else to turn to, suggesting that we're responding to an unmet need in society for this kind of support. In addition, it is gratifying to see that 86% of texters who identified as LGBTQ+ told us that they found their conversation with a Shout 85258 crisis volunteer helpful.”

Alexis Caught, Volunteer for Shout 85258 and writer, rugby player, co-host of queer podcast Qmmunity and mental health advocate said: “Against a backdrop of increasing transphobia and homophobia, and many LGBTQ+ youth feeling ‘trapped in the closet’ by lockdown, the need to support the mental health of the LGBTQ+ community is more important than ever. During lockdown Shout 85258 volunteers have been taking 250 more conversations a day than normal and a third of these are with people who identify as LGBTQ+. At a time when our community cannot get together for support and celebrations such as PRIDE festivals have had to be postponed, I’d urge anyone who feels like they need support to text SHOUT to 85258 to receive immediate support from a trained volunteer.”

Text SHOUT to 85258 for support in a crisis or visit www.giveusashout.org/resources/ for more information.

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Media contacts

For further information or to request a spokesperson interview, please contact Clare Bolton, Director of Marketing and Communications on [email protected] 07812 542314 or Emily Beattie, Head of Digital Communications and Marketing on [email protected] 07525 743495.

About Mental Health Innovations and Shout 85258

Mental Health Innovations is a digital mental health charity, which uses digital innovation, data-driven analysis and the experience of mental health experts to improve the mental health of the UK population: https://mentalhealthinnovations.org/

Shout 85258 is the first service from Mental Health Innovations and the UK's first 24/7 crisis text support service. It was researched and developed with The Royal Foundation as a legacy of the Heads Together campaign and was set up with a £3m grant from The Royal Foundation. Shout 85258 was launched in May 2019, with support from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Shout 85258 is proud to partner with charity organisations Switchboard and Mermaids, to provide round the clock support to ensure no one goes through a crisis alone: https://www.giveusashout.org/

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