Text message support

illustration of a hand texting on a mobile phone

Get 24 hour text support from a trained volunteer.

It’s free, confidential and anonymous. Whether you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, loneliness or relationship issues, we’re here to listen and support you.

This service is delivered in partnership with Shout and Crisis Text Line.

What can you expect from this service?

When you text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258’, you’ll get a prompt asking you to explain what’s troubling you. Then you’ll receive four automated messages, before you are connected to someone, who will listen without judgement. This will usually be within five minutes, but if we’re busy it might take longer.

The volunteer will introduce themselves, and will communicate with you over text message.

The volunteer will listen and reflect on what you’re experiencing, and identify tools and strategies to help you through your moment of crisis.

Towards the end of the conversation, the volunteer can provide signposting to services that provide further help and support.

Text support is anonymous. There’s no app or data required, no registration process, and it is free to use. You can stop the chat at any time by sending the word ‘STOP’.

More about this service

Is it confidential?

Messages are confidential unless we’re concerned about someone’s safety and must tell the emergency services or appropriate authorities in order to keep them safe. In cases when a texter is in immediate danger of suicide or homicide, as determined by a risk assessment by the volunteer and clinical supervisor, our first step is to try to work with the texter to form a safety plan. If the texter is unable to plan for their own safety, the clinical supervisor may contact emergency services, who may dispatch a wellness check.

SHOUT, our delivery partner, uses anonymised data and insights to improve the service and for the improvement of mental health in the UK more generally. All personal and contextual data is removed from the materials shared with partners. For more information, please consult SHOUT’s privacy policy.

If you have used the service, you can text LOOFAH to 85258 to have your data and information deleted.

Is it free?

Yes, the service is free on all major mobile networks: EE, O2, Three and Vodafone. These include – BT Mobile, Tesco Mobile, Virgin Mobile, iD Mobile, Sky, Telecom Plus, Lebara and GiffGaff.

Some Android phones, including the Samsung Galaxy handset, issue a warning that you will be charged for texting us. Provided you are on one of the networks listed here, this warning is incorrect and you will not be charged.

There’s no app or data required, and it doesn’t appear on your phone bill.

What can I speak to you about?

We get text messages from people wanting to talk about a range of issues. It’s not an exhaustive list, but you might want to talk to us about:

  • Suicidal thoughts or intent
  • Anxiety
  • Low mood
  • Loneliness and relationships
  • Worries about the future
What kind of training and support do volunteers get?

Volunteers undertake 25 hours of training. They learn how to engage empathically with texters and develop plans with them to support their safety. They are supervised by expert clinical supervisors with relevant education and experience.