Shout service user privacy policy

Last updated: Friday 4th September 2020 16:00 (London, BST)

INTRODUCTION; SCOPE

The Mental Health Innovations (“Mental Health Innovations”, “we”, or “us”), Shout 85258 service gives text message support to anyone who is struggling to cope. Trained Shout Volunteers are available round the clock to have conversations with texters in need of support, aiming to create a ‘safe space’ in which texters feel able to discuss difficult topics. Volunteers texters move to a calm and more manageable state of mind and help them form an action plan. Our volunteers are trained and supervised throughout their interactions with texters by clinical staff. Mental Health Innovations is a registered charity in England number 1175670. You can find our registered office contact details at the end of this Policy.

Your privacy and the security of information about you are very important to us. Our privacy and security guidelines apply to all Mental Health Innovations employees and Shout Volunteers as well as those who provide technical support and we take these privacy safeguards very seriously

When you send a message to Mental Health Innovations to initiate a text message conversation, you receive some automated reply messages with a link to our Terms of Service and this Privacy Policy. 

Our Terms of Service explain our service and set out the ground-rules for using it.  Before using or accessing the service we provide (the “Service”), please read both the Terms of Service and this Privacy Policy (the “Terms”).  The Terms govern your access and use of the Service. You may contact Mental Health Innovations by email at info@mhiuk.org if you have any questions about them. If you don’t agree to the Terms you may not use the Service. If you no longer wish to receive messages, you may opt out at any time by texting the word STOP.

CHANGES TO THE TERMS

The Terms may be changed from time to time. The most up-to-date Terms will always be the ones that are posted here.  Changes to the Terms of Service will be effective immediately upon our posting them here on our website.

If we decide to make any changes which affect how we use your personal information we will place clear notifications on the front page of our website for a minimum of a month prior to those changes being implemented. This is to allow you time to review them here. If you then continue to use the Service after that time we will take it that you agree to those changes.

On each separate occasion that you first send a message to Mental Health Innovations to initiate a text message conversation, you will receive some automated reply messages with a link to our current Terms, so you may review them before continuing to use our Service. By using our Service after receiving those automated messages, you agree to the practices outlined in the current Terms, including the collection and processing of your personal data, including special category data and the transfer of that data outside the European Union, as described in the Terms.

In order to protect your confidentiality, we never initiate direct contact with you. We are therefore unable to notify you directly of any changes to the Terms. Your use of the Service after any such changes have been posted shall constitute your acceptance of the revised Terms.

This Privacy Policy will inform you if, when and to whom we disclose your information; it will explain your Data Protection Act and General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”) rights relating to this information and what choices you have in how we use that information. So before using the Service, please read the following.

COLLECTION AND USE OF YOUR PERSONAL AND SPECIAL CATEGORY DATA

When you first message us we will have access to your mobile telephone number. We will retain this as we need it in order to enter into a conversation with you and provide you with our service. We do not require you to supply any other data in order to access our service. We do not even need your name.

WHAT PERSONAL AND SPECIAL CATEGORY DATA WE COLLECT

All of the text messages that you send us are stored securely. Apart from your telephone number, we do not routinely collect any other personally identifying data from you. In order to make the conversation between you and our Shout Volunteer flow more smoothly you may wish to provide us with your name, but that should not be more than your first name.

When you are in conversation with us you may be upset or in a difficult situation. You may choose to tell us things that are deeply personal to you, that you may never have told another person. This could mean that you may tell us things which involve the following topics:

race;

ethnic origin;

political opinions;

religious or philosophical beliefs;

trade union membership;

health;

sex life;

or sexual orientation.

This list isn’t exhaustive, and you can choose to talk with us about anything you would like or need to. However, under the GDPR, the types of information listed above are classed as special category data. That means that we require your specific consent in order to discuss any of these topics with you. This is because we will store this information within the confidential record of our conversation with you.

OVERSEAS TRANSFERS

In order to ensure that we can provide a 24-hour service we use Shout Volunteers and Supervisors who may be based in different parts of the world. The locations include the United States of America, Canada, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.  This includes some countries that do not have data protection laws which are equivalent to those we have in the European Union. In providing the Service we are supported by technical staff who are based in the United States. In order to provide support, in some cases they may have to access material which includes personal data. 

We send you a link to the Terms including this Privacy Policy in the automated text messages that we send you when you first contact us.

IF YOU CHOOSE TO CONTINUE USING OUR SERVICE AFTER RECEIVING OUR AUTOMATED MESSAGES, YOU WILL BE CONSENTING TO US KEEPING ALL OF THE TEXT MESSAGES, PROCESSING AND STORING YOUR TELEPHONE NUMBER INCLUDING ANY PERSONAL OR SPECIAL CATEGORY DATA THAT YOU CHOOSE TO SHARE WITH US AND TO THE TRANSFER OF THIS INFORMATION TO SHOUT VOLUNTEERS, SUPERVISORS AND IT SUPPORT STAFF IN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE THE EUROPEAN UNION WHICH DO NOT HAVE EQUIVALENT DATA PROTECTION LAWS.

LOCATION DATA

We do not routinely gather data about your location. If you message us, we do not automatically know where you are. There are occasions when we may ask you to give us your location. You are not under any obligation to give it to us. We will only ever ask for it if we feel that we need it to help you. You can find more information about this in the section of this policy titled “CONFIDENTIALITY AND DISCLOSURE TO THIRD PARTIES.”

HOW WE USE YOUR PERSONAL AND SENSITIVE DATA

We keep a record of the telephone number that you contacted us from. We use your telephone number to identify you. We also keep the text messages sent between you and your Shout Volunteer.

We keep the text messages for a few reasons. We use the information for internal purposes such as auditing, data analysis and research to improve the service that we provide; additionally, we clear it of all personal data (so that you can never be identified) and use the anonymised data that is produced to conduct an analysis of the trends that are occurring within our conversations.

COLLECTION AND USE OF DATA THAT IS NEITHER PERSONAL NOR SENSITIVE

We also collect data that is neither personal nor special category; that is, data that cannot be directly used to identify or contact you. We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose this type of data for any purpose, including but not limited to improving services, disclosing to third parties to generate support for Mental Health Innovations, or as required by law.

Below are examples of data that are neither personal nor sensitive, that we collect and how we may use it:

  • We may use aggregated, anonymised information such as age, gender, language, and the time of our conversation to better understand user behaviour and improve our service.
  • We also may collect information regarding usage of Mental Health Innovations’ service, such as the conversation volume, average length of conversation, and other data. This information is aggregated and helps us conduct internal research, so we can improve the quality of our service.

CONFIDENTIALITY AND DISCLOSURE TO THIRD PARTIES

Mental Health Innovations respects and seeks to preserve the confidentiality of people who use our service. This confidentiality is based on the common law ‘duty of confidence’ and is shared between you, the service user and Mental Health Innovations.  Our Shout Volunteers and Supervisors also have an obligation of confidentiality. They will only use and disclose any information provided to them within the rules set by Mental Health Innovations. We do not routinely ask for names or location information. No identifying information or discussion between you and the service is disclosed to an external third party except in the exceptional circumstances outlined below.

We will always endeavour to get your consent before we contact a third party but there are situations, described below, where we will pass on information without consent. If we deem that the situation is safe for you, we will work with you in making decisions about involving a third party. We will only share information with people or entities when the law allows us to do so.

We will always think carefully about whether we need to break confidentiality. This is especially important if you are a young person, aged under 18. We will choose to break confidentiality and engage with a third party in the following circumstances:

∙••••• You ask us to;

∙••••• We believe that your life or someone else’s life is in imminent danger;

∙••••• You are a young person, aged under 18, who is being hurt, abused or neglected;

∙••••• You tell us that you are endangering the safety of another person.

We are also unable to provide confidentiality in the following circumstances:

  • A message sent to or through Mental Health Innovations contains specific information about a terrorist suspect or terrorist activity that will take place or has taken place in the world. This information must immediately be disclosed to the police;
  • Mental Health Innovations is forced through legal action to disclose specific confidential information; this can include legal action taken under the Data Protection Act and during criminal investigations.

POLICE, SOCIAL AND MEDICAL SERVICES

If one of our Shout Volunteers identifies imminent risk of harm to yourself or someone else (you have the desire, plan, means, timeframe) or suspects emotional/physical abuse or neglect, they may let you know they’re concerned about your safety. At this point, they might ask you for some identifiable information (such as your age, where you are and your name). If they have concerns about your safety or you share information about the abuse of a child or young person, they may contact the police, medical, or social services. 

SHOUT VOLUNTEERS

We operate the Service in conjunction with Shout Volunteers and Mental Health Innovations staff. Any information, including Personal and Special Category Data, that you share with us may be viewed by Mental Health Innovations staff or Shout Volunteers for quality control, to contact emergency services or to better assist you with your need.

If you provide feedback through an anonymous feedback survey, that feedback may also be shared with our staff and Shout Volunteers.

RESEARCH

We have created a formal process for sharing information about our text conversations with researchers at universities and other institutions. We typically share anonymised data with trusted researchers when it will result in insights that create a better experience for our service users. We will always follow best practices for sharing data based on the guidance from the institution’s ethics committee, and any relevant legal limitations or security checks.

OUTSIDE RESOURCES

Sometimes, we may provide information to you about another service. We will give you information to help you contact them, but we will NOT give them your contact information. It is up to you if you want to follow our signpost to their service. If you would like to receive support from other services, please note that different rules may apply to their use or disclosure of Personal and Special Category Data. We do not control the privacy policies of other services.

THIRD PARTY SERVICES

If you contact us through a third-party service your information may be shared between us and that third party. For example, in the exceptional circumstances described above, we and the third party may exchange your location information to contact local police, medical or social services in an emergency.

OTHER THIRD PARTIES; LEGAL PROCESSES

In certain narrow circumstances, we may disclose Personal Data that we collect from you to additional third parties if we believe such disclosure is necessary:

∙••••• to comply with the law or in response to a court order, government request, or other legal process;

∙••••• to protect the interests, rights, safety, or property of Mental Health Innovations, its affiliates, employees, or agents, including but not limited to Shout Volunteers.

RETENTION OF INFORMATION

We retain and store two different types of data after our conversation with you. Your Personal and Special Category Data, that is your telephone number and the record of all the text messages that you exchange with us, will be stored for up to 7 years after you last contact us. Once this time has passed we will permanently delete this data from our records. If you contact us again after this time, you will appear to be a new service user. We will not have any record of our previous conversations with you.

We anonymise the data that is extracted from our conversations with you. This anonymised data will be retained indefinitely. This data is independent of the text record and cannot be attributed to you. We keep this data as it helps us to improve our own services and it contributes to our data set.

HOW WE PROTECT YOUR PERSONAL AND SENSITIVE DATA

We take the protection of your data very seriously. We take administrative, technical, and physical measures, to protect your Personal and Sensitive Data from loss, theft, misuse, unauthorised access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction. We store all information on servers within the UK and we only permit approved employees and third parties, such as our data processors to access those servers.

We employ different security techniques to protect your Personal and Special Category Data from unauthorised access, including standard encryption practices. However, perfect security does not exist anywhere, including for text messaging/SMS data. Although we believe we take appropriate measures to safeguard against unauthorised disclosures of information, we cannot assure you that your Personal and Sensitive Data or communications with Mental Health Innovations will never be disclosed in a manner inconsistent with this policy and make no representations or warranties regarding the sufficiency of our security measures to prevent unauthorised access or interception by third parties.

YOU SHOULD ALSO PROTECT YOURSELF

Always be careful and responsible regarding your Personal and Sensitive Data.

You might want to delete our conversations from your phone. You might even want to clear us from your history and make sure we are not saved in your contact list.

YOUR RIGHTS REGARDING YOUR PERSONAL AND SENSITIVE DATA

If you wish to exercise any of your rights, as listed below please write to us at dataprotection@mhiuk.org or the address below for :

If you make a request relating to any of the rights listed above, we will consider each request in accordance with all applicable data protection laws and regulations. No administration fee will be charged for considering and/or complying with such a request unless the request is deemed to be excessive in nature. 

Upon successful verification of your identity you are entitled to obtain the following information about your own personal information:

You may request that we delete your Personal and Sensitive Data, such as your name, physical address (if applicable), phone number, and texts/message transcripts by texting in the keyword LOOFAH to 85258, after which you will be prompted to confirm your request.

You can make any of the other above requests by emailing dataprotection@mhiuk.org or by writing to:

Data Protection Officer

Mental Health Innovations

21 Whitefriars Street,

London

EC4Y 8JJ

We want to make sure that your personal information is accurate and up to date. You may ask us to correct or remove information you think is inaccurate.

COMPLAINTS

If you have any questions or concerns about this Privacy Policy and our privacy practices or if you wish to file a complaint, please contact our Care Team by emailing info@mhiuk.org

You have the right to lodge a complaint with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if you believe your data has been processed in a way that does not comply with the GDPR. You can do so by calling the ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113 or via their website.

Data Protection Officer

Contact the Mental Health Innovations Data Protection Officer by emailing dataprotection@mhiuk.org or by writing to:

Data Protection Officer

Mental Health Innovations

21 Whitefriars Street,

London

EC4Y 8JJ