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  • Writer's pictureCardinal Newman Catholic School

Launch of text messaging service to support people in Sussex who are struggling to cope

Updated: Oct 3, 2022

A new text messaging service for people who are experiencing a challenging time with their emotional wellbeing or mental health was launched in Sussex on Monday 4 July 2022. This initiative is part of a programme of work being led by the Sussex Health & Care Partnership and the Mental Health Collaborative to offer a digitally-led means of support, providing a 24/7 response to individuals who are in distress. The service aims to provide rapid and easy access to support and signposting to mental health or emergency services when required to help reduce and prevent self-harm and suicide.

How does the service work?

By texting the word SUSSEX to 85258, people can access the free, confidential, 24/7 service to have a text-based conversation with a trained volunteer. The volunteers offer real-time support to people who are struggling, and help get them to get to a calmer place. Texters will be signposted to local services in Sussex, including the Sussex Mental Healthline, Staying Well services and the Grassroots’ Stay Alive App, if needed, to get continuous and longer-term support. Conversations are overseen by trained supervisors who monitor conversations 24/7.

Clinical supervisors can escalate texters to the emergency services via a direct line if they are deemed at imminent risk. The initiative is being delivered through the national text messaging service Shout, which has already supported thousands of people since it was launched by Mental Health Innovations in 2019. For more information about how the Shout text messaging service works, watch this short video here.

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