Trigger Warning: Mention of self-harm, suicide, and murder.
Snapchat has launched an official partnership with Shout, a text line service available in the UK for anyone that is having mental health issues or crises. Shout is a free text service in the UK that’s open 24/7. The new Snapchat/Shout partnership will enable Snapchat users to help friends on Snapchat who might be struggling with mental health, and make worrisome posts in a shoutout for help,
How Will This Work Exactly?
Let’s say you’re on Snapchat and a friend posts on their story that they’re thinking of harming themselves. You try calling them but they don’t answer. One thing users will be able to do with the Snapchat/Shout partnership is report their friend’s harmful story or message According to a Mashable report, Snapchat will then send a message to the friend that you’re concerned about. The message will read, “A friend is worried about you.”
The message from Snapchat will also include mental health resources, as well as a way for the user to reach out to a Shout representative for help. So instead of having to suggest to said friend that they should download a separate Shout app just in case, you can help the friend access resources directly through Snapchat instead.
What is Shout? Is It Really Free? I Can’t Afford An Expensive Therapist.
Shout is a free, UK-based volunteer-based texting service. Anyone in need of support can reach out to a Shout volunteer. The company handles issues from anxiety, relationship issues, self-harm and suicide. (You can read the full list of issues the volunteers are trained to handle here.)
Shout does make it clear that their company is a first line of support, but the volunteers are not licensed therapists. The volunteers are there to help anytime someone is in need of support, and they can assist you in finding more resources for long-term support and care, such as finding a therapist.
“The service provides immediate support for all types of mental health challenges, taking people who are struggling to cope to a place of calm every day of the week. This should not be confused with therapy.
Our trained volunteers provide texters with empathetic support and techniques to handle future problems, as well as directing them towards longer-term support and/or therapy for their particular concerns. It’s not a one way process: you won’t be told what to do. Shout 85258 is a volunteer-driven, de-escalation service. We may not be able to provide you with the kind of service you might need, if you are looking for continuous regular support.”
A reassuring aspect of utilizing the Shout service is that all messages are confidential. (The only caveat is if one of Shout’s clinical supervisors deems that a user reaching out is in imminent danger of murder or suicide. The first step in this process is trying to work out a plan with the user reaching out to ensure their safety, if not, the clinical supervisor may call EMS to perform a wellness check for the user in need of help.)
Anytime a user wants to stop a conversation with a Shout volunteer all they do is text STOP. Text LOOFAH to have Shout scrub your message data entirely from the system.
For more frequently asked SHOUT questions, click here.
At the moment the Shout/Snapchat feature is available in the U.K. Snapchat users in the U.S can use Snapchat’s “Here For You,” tool, which gives users access to mental health resources that are available in the U.S
Snapchat’s partnership with Shout is definitely a positive step for mental health resources. You can text SHOUT at 85258 to access the Shout helpline if you’re in the U.K. Text KIND to 741 741 to access the U.S crisis text line.