24/7 Text Support Service Launches In Ireland
A new text based mental health service funded by the HSE was launched in June 2020.
‘50808’ is the first of its kind for Ireland, a free 24/7 text supprt service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis.
50808 launches 24/7 text service in Ireland
50808 is run by Community Creations, the company behind SpunOut.ie. Since the service began its pilot in September last year, it has provided support to 3,801 people through 6,694 conversations. It is expected that ‘50808’ will support over 50,000 people each year once fully operational.
Of the almost four thousand people supported;
832 people were thinking about suicide
360 people were self-harming
The top issues discussed were: Anxiety/stress (40%), depression/sadness (32%), relationships (29%), isolation/loneliness (23%) and suicide (18%)
80% of texters have been between the ages of 16 and 34
65% of texters were female, 24% male, 2% transgender and 2% non-binary
30% of texters identified as LGBTI+
35% of texters are living with a disability, an existing mental health condition, or other medical condition
Reasons for texting: Didn't have anyone else to talk to (50%), wanted to talk to someone who didn't know me (48%), more comfortable texting than talking (40%), too embarrassed to talk on the phone or in person (31%), didn't have access to a therapist (31%)
The service uses an artificial intelligence (AI) system to analyse a texter’s initial message, scanning keywords, phrases, and even emojis to determine the level of severity. The texter’s at most imminent risk are placed at the top of the queue.
50808 has performed over 100 “Active Rescues” since beginning it's pilot phase in September 2019 in which the National Ambulance Service is contacted for a texter in need of emergency support.
The service allows trained Crisis Volunteers to volunteer from home. Crisis Volunteers complete a 30-hour training and have 24/7 supervision by full-time mental health professionals.