Couple set up mental health text service to give those in need someone to talk to after friends' suicide
After hearing an old school friend had lost his life to suicide, a South Shields couple set up a new mental health text service to help others in their time of need.
Co-founders James Angus and Daniel Adams decided to set up ‘Text Relief’ earlier this year in the hope of making it more accessible for people in need to find someone to talk to.
And after hearing the devastating news an old school friend of James had died recently from suicide, the couple stepped up their efforts in the hope of helping others.
Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged under 45 in the UK and James and Daniel hope they can give both men, and women, a place where they feel comfortable to talk in troubling times.
It’s now just over a month since the service went live and there have been more than 100 communications between people in need and more than 45 volunteers.
The couple have dealt with mental health issues first hand. James, who is originally from Washington, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 18-years-old and Daniel is now classed as his full time carer.
James, 31, said: “Not long ago a friend of mine from school killed himself. I really stepped it up then. I saw just how important it is for people to know they can speak to someone.
“I think there are a lot of people that need to talk to someone but don’t feel comfortable speaking to someone on the phone.
“If you’re feeling a bit down, you can sit and put some music on. You don’t have to be on the phone talking to someone.
“You can just text as if you are texting a friend.
“You don’t know who is on the other end but you know they’re there to support you.”
So how does it work?
The anonymous text service, which is sponsored by Diamond Clean UK LTD, allows someone in need to message one of more than 45 numbers using Whatsapp.
This links to volunteers which include mental health nurses, support workers, psychology students and people who have family and friends with mental health issues.
The service follows GDPR guidelines and all communications remain anonymous and are deleted by volunteers when the conversation comes to an end.
If someone is in Crisis, volunteers will pass it onto the crisis service and encourage the texter to get in touch with the crisis team themselves.
How can you get in touch?
There is a list of numbers available people who want to use the service can message on the Text Relief Facebook page.