Providing support via text for those in need this Christmas

A young woman sitting on her bed looking at her phone
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
22 December 2023

The holidays should be a time for relaxing, celebrating with loved ones and enjoying some well-earned rest. Unfortunately, the festive season can also be a time that feels overwhelming and brings anxiety, stress and apprehension for many people. If you’re struggling to cope this Christmas, Shout is just a text message away.

Shout has trained thousands of volunteers in the UK to provide support to people in need. No matter what situation you’re facing, or how you’re feeling, just text the word ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 and a trained Shout Volunteer will reply.

Since its launch in May 2018, Shout has taken part in more than 1.5 million text conversations with 540,000 people across the UK in distress and in urgent need of support. Shout Volunteers are trained to assess risk and to de-escalate texters experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges. This is achieved by engaging warmly with them, validating their experience and supporting them to make a safety plan. When de-escalation is not possible and a texter is deemed to be at imminent risk of suicide, Shout works with the emergency services to keep the texter safe. From 525,000 conversations relating to suicide, Shout has actioned interventions for more than 12,000 individuals.

A teenage boy looking at his phone

Suicide rates are higher than ever. According to the Office for National Statistics, suicide and intentional self-harm is the leading cause of death among children and young people aged five to 34. A report highlighted the impact that Shout has had, showing that even if just 1% of interventions that Shout has actioned resulted in a life saved then Shout has prevented the suicides of 126 people.

Shout is uniquely positioned to provide crisis support to the growing number of children and young people at risk. As a digital service, it appeals particularly to young people – 64% of people who text in are aged under 25, and 9% are aged 13 or under.

Text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 and whatever it is that’s bothering you, the Shout team will be there to talk about it.

Virgin Unite supported Shout during 2020 to provide its free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope.