Around May 2019, I saw a news feature with Duke & Duchess of Cambridge launching the 24/7 UK crisis text line Give Us A Shout.
The idea seemed simple and brilliant. Mobile providers waived their fees for texts to this service. Anyone struggling with their emotions from feeling lonely to idealation to complete suicide, any age, could text the word SHOUT to 85258 and get help to take them from a hot moment to a cool calm.
As a completely text service 24/7, those struggling didn’t have to overcome fear or anxiety of speaking to someone via a telephone line. Nor did they have to take part in a video call.
This idea peaked my interest. The new launch was to engage with volunteers to train to go on the platform and support. The training was long and intense.
A coach is assigned from joining Give Us A Shout until a volunteer decides to leave.
This wrap around support for texters and volunteers is unique so I applied and thankfully was accepted.
Starting off as a baby chick (new volunteer) I could only take one texter at a time. The commitment is to give 200 hours to the platform before deciding to leave.
That target seemed light years away and completely unattainable. However, I received the following email from my Coach – I didn’t even realise I passed the landmark!
‘Congratulations on having spent 200 hours on the Platform.
Thank you for giving so much of your time and empathy to our texters. We really appreciate every second you’ve spent with us on the Platform…….720,000 seconds to be exact!
I’m sure that when you made a commitment to do 200 hours of volunteering with Shout it seemed almost unattainable, and yet you have made that commitment a reality and for that we are all so grateful to you.
We look forward to you continuing to support texters and other Shout Volunteers with your invaluable experience for many more hours to come.‘
My plan is to continue volunteering as long as I can for this unique service. Feedback shows me, it really makes a difference to those struggling.
I always teach people I work with ‘Never look at big targets. They always feel unattainable. Instead, look at bite sized steps. You’ll soon achieve your end goal and learn so much along the way.’
I know I have.
If you or anyone you know is struggling, no matter the time of day or night or issue that’s on your mind, text the word SHOUT to 85258. Help is there. You don’t need to go on any struggle alone.
That’s a great program, particularly with all the medical and political stuff going on.