The service has been launched by Winston’s Wish using US originated 24/7 emergency text services Shout and Crisis Text Line.
A crisis mobile phone text service offering 24/7 support to bereaved children has launched this week. The Crisis Messenger text service is free to use and has been set up by the charity Winston’s Wish, which supports children who have lost a family member or loved one. It is available to any child or young person who is experiencing a mental health crisis following the death of someone close. By texting the service anyone in need of help will be connected to a trained crisis volunteer for an anonymous text conversation.
The service has been launched through the 24/7 text services Shout and Crisis Text Line, which were originally launched in the US and are now operating in the UK. It has launched before Christmas as the festive period can be tough for children experiencing bereavement, said the charity. "The festive period can be a particularly painful and difficult time for young people when someone close has died, and with approximately 41,000 children/young people being parentally bereaved each year, more than 100 will experience the death of a parent on Christmas Day alone", the charity added.
An aim of the text service is to de-escalate any crisis situation, addressing issues such as bereavement, suicidal thoughts, abuse, self-harm, bullying and relationship issues. "Losing someone close to you is utterly devastating and it’s essential that anyone who has been bereaved gets the right support, at the right time," said Fergus Crow, Chief Executive Officer of Winston’s Wish. "Sometimes that might mean late at night or in the early hours, or in a situation when speaking to someone isn’t feasible. "The Winston’s Wish Crisis Messenger text service is available 24/7 and is completely confidential and free of charge - and so we would urge anyone who has been bereaved and finds themselves having a mental health crisis to contact us so that we may help them."