Text message service launched by Council to support mental health

A NEW Wiltshire Council-commissioned partnership will provide critical timely support for anyone in Wiltshire struggling with their mental health.

It will be delivered by Mental Health Innovations, the charity that powers the national service called Shout.
The 24/7 text messaging support service will provide free confidential support for anyone in Wiltshire who is struggling with their mental health. As it is free, it will not appear on anyone’s phone bill.
Wiltshire Council has commissioned the service locally using money from the government’s Substance Misuse Treatment and Recovery Grant, which can be used for projects that provide a ‘better and more integrated response to physical and mental health issues’.
To use the service, people should text the word ‘WILTS’ to 85258. This will start a text conversation with a trained volunteer who will aim to get the person texting to a calm and safe place, with a plan of what they are going to do to support themselves moving forward. This will include providing information about local support services where required.

Wiltshire Council will receive anonymised information about the type of support that is being accessed which will provide valuable insight and help inform how local services are delivered.
The service has been available since November 2, which was National Stress Awareness Day – a day in the calendar that aims to raise awareness of the effects that stress can have on people in their daily lives.
The national Shout service has had 1.6 million text conversations with children, young people and adults in the UK, averaging approximately 2,000 conversations each day – 86% of Shout service users felt that the conversation was helpful.

Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Wiltshire Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, said: “Sometimes people who are struggling with their mental health don’t speak out or seek support. Shout provides a support outlet that is completely confidential and discreet, while ensuring the texter gets access to expert local information and guidance.

“As stated in our Business Plan, we want to support people and help them adopt healthy behaviours, with a real focus on mental health. It’s a challenging time at the moment for lots of people, particularly with the high cost-of-living, so we hope this service provides some reassurance that we are ready to help anyone who needs us, so please get in touch.”

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