The service, Shout, allows people to simply and discreetly communicate with trained crisis volunteers by text message. The service is overseen by clinical supervisors.
After texting a crisis volunteer will reply. The volunteer will offer support and respond to questions until they, and the person using the service, feels in a safe calm place. The volunteer will also provide sign posting to other services that can offer specialist support and ongoing help in their local area.
Shout, can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, simply by texting ‘SHOUT’ to 85258.
Advice is available for anyone struggling with a host of issues, including: anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, abuse or assault, self-harm, bullying or relationship issues.
Shout advisers can be reached on any mobile phone, there is no need to be registered with the service or to download an app to get advice.
The service is confidential, free, and won’t show up on phone bills.
Warren Heppolette, executive lead strategy and system development, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “It is always essential that people are able to find the mental health support they need quickly and easily – Shout is set to provide a simple and easy way to do just that.
“While this service was planned before the outbreak of coronavirus the launch is timely. The current situation will inevitably have a detrimental impact on all our anxiety levels, and this will only be heightened for those already struggling with their mental health.
“As the service uses text messaging it is incredibly discreet, this will be vital in the coming weeks as we are all living in much closer quarters with our friends and family and may not want to share our problems with them – especially if they are part of the cause of distress.”