A couple of weeks ago, we started a much-needed conversation about the importance of mental health. I think we can agree that we all struggle with our mental health from time to time (or at least know someone who does), so it’s essential to know where to turn to if you need a little extra help when the stresses of daily life become overwhelming. With that in mind, here are the free mental health helplines that offer support over text, phone calls, emails and more, so that you or your loved ones never have to struggle with their mental health alone.
Text Someone At Shout
This free, 24/7 text service offers help and support to anyone in crisis, whether that be suicidal thoughts, abuse, assault, self-harm, bullying or anything else that makes you feel overwhelmed. Whenever you’re in need of immediate support, their crisis volunteer teams are there to listen. You can find out more here.
How Does It Work?
To access this free mental health helpline, all you need to do it text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258 – no need to register, pay a fee, download an app or have data. It is also available to anyone of any age.
You can then have a free, anonymous and confidential conversion with a trained Crisis Volunteer who will help you through the issue until you feel calm and have agreed on a plan of action. If you need long-term help or therapy, you may be provided with further information about specialised services that can offer such support.
Who Is It For?
Shout is one of the several free mental health helplines for anyone in crisis who feels overwhelmed and needs immediate support. Whether you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, abuse, assault, self-harm, bullying or anything else, you can use the Shout services.
Note: Shout isn’t the emergency services, so you should always dial 999 if life is at imminent risk. Shout also don’t provide clinical help, therapy or long-term support. They may recommend charities or organisations that will offer these, though.
Call Someone At Samaritans
You’ve no doubt seen posters saying ‘Sam is here to listen’ plastered around your local train station. Well, whatever you’re facing, Samaritans is here to help you through it. They offer free, confidential and anonymous helplines for anyone who is struggling. You can read more here.
How Does It Work?
There are four main ways to get in touch with Samaritans. You can call, email, send a letter or visit a branch.
- Call: Phone 116 123 any time of day for free to chat to a volunteer. They will listen as you voice your concerns and help you to explore how you’re feeling. Don’t worry, they won’t judge, share their opinions or offer advice. They’ll just listen and help you through your crisis. When you phone, you should get through to a volunteer immediately. Oh, and the volunteer won’t be able to see your number and the call won’t appear on your phone bill.
- Email: Send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org and a volunteer will get back to you in 24 hours. Again, your email address will be hidden, so you should feel free to write down your feelings and speak openly.
- Write: You can post a letter for free and a volunteer will get back to you within 7 days. You just need to send it to Freepost RSRB-KKBY-CYJK, Chris, PO Box 9090, STIRLING FK8 2SA. If you want a response, you’ll need to share your home address, though they will shred your letter when they reply to it to protect your identity.
- Visit a branch: Due to the current coronavirus situation, your local Samaritan branch may be closed. You can check the latest updates on that here.
Who Is This Service For?
If you ever think that your problem is too small to be worth troubling Samaritan about, immediately dismiss that thought. If something is getting to you, then they are here for you, whether that be financial worries, stress, loss, loneliness, depression, relationship problems, heavy drinking, drug use, suicidal thoughts or more. You just need to reach out to a free mental health helpline.
Getting Help In Scotland With Breathing Space
A service available only in Scotland, Breathing Space are here to help you to cope when your thoughts and feelings become overwhelming. When you call, you’ll get to speak to a specialist advisor who will listen to your concerns before offering advice on where you can go to seek further help.
How Do I Get In Touch?
To talk to an advisor, you can call 0800 838 587 6pm-2am Monday through Thursday and 6pm-6am Friday through Monday for free.
Who Can Use This Service?
If you’re over 16, struggling with your mental health, and your family, friends or GP are unavailable or unable to help, then you should feel free to call their helpline.
C.A.L.L. Offers Community Advice And A Listening Line
Offering confidential support to anyone who lives in Wales, CA.L.L. is here to listen to anyone who is concerned about their own, a relative’s or a friend’s mental health.
What Services Are Available?
- Phoneline: If you want to talk to someone about your mental health, you can call 0800 132 737 any time, any day. An advisor will listen to your concerns and offer guidance on where to find further help.
- Text Messaging Service: If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s mental health and need the number of a charity or counselling agency, you can text ‘HELP’ followed by the service you need to 81066. A C.A.L.L worker will then text you back about the services that are relevant to your request and available to you in Wales.
Who Can Use These Services?
Anyone can contact C.A.L.L. However, you will need your parent’s or guardian’s consent if you are under 16.
All of the above free mental health helplines offer a safe and confidential space in which to voice your struggles, concerns, stresses and anxieties. If you’re wondering whether to reach out, then that’s probably a sign that you should. Look after your mental health and that of the people around you. If you’re struggling, someone is there to help.
Since the start of 2020, we’ve been openly talking about issues that women face every day but aren’t always comfortable opening up about. Having addressed period poverty and period shame, as well as body image and body confidence, we’re now talking about all things mental health. You can find out more about why it is such a taboo subject here, or stay tuned to find out more about how you can be more mindful of your mental health.