Mental Health Innovations

Mental Health Innovations is a charity which uses digital innovation, data-driven analysis and the experience of expert clinicians to improve the mental health of the UK population. The charity was researched, developed and set up in 2017 with a founding grant from The Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales as a legacy of the Heads Together campaign.

Mental Health Innovations’ first product is Shout – the UK’s first and only free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone in distress. Anyone who is struggling to cope can text SHOUT to 85258 from anywhere in the UK to start a free, confidential conversation with a trained volunteer at any time of day or night.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

Shout is the UK’s first free, confidential, 24/7 text messaging mental health support service for anyone struggling to cope, created by Mental Health Innovations.

From launch in May 2018 to August 2022, Shout has taken more than 1,500,000 text conversations with 540,000 children, young people and adults across the UK in distress and in urgent need of support. Suicide – either thinking about it or being at the point of making a plan – is the most common presenting issue for people texting Shout, highlighted in 35% of conversations.

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.

What are your current priorities?

– Growing our trained Volunteer Team to meet demand
– Increasing our Clinical Supervisor Team to support our Volunteers and Service Users
– Ensuring our data and analysis contributes to national insight and the identification of the mental health needs of the public
– using our insight and expertise to offer training beyond our organisation
– Given the focus of Mental Health Innovations is to use data to develop innovative digital mental health products, over and above our digital platform, Shout, we are focusing on what products and processes we can develop to contribute to the increasing demand for mental health support, data insight and early intervention

What challenges are you currently facing?

– Meeting demand for mental health support