A new mental health free text messaging support service has launched in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to provide free and confidential support to anyone who is struggling to cope. 

Launched by NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough and in partnership with the national service SHOUT, the free to use text service HEAR 85258 provides real-time support to people of all ages who are struggling with their mental health. 

When texting the word HEAR to 85258, the person will be connected to a trained volunteer who will offer them calm in a time or place of crisis.

During the confidential and anonymous conversation, the texter will be supported while working on a plan of action and signposted to local and national mental health services. 

Laura, who works in Ely, has used the national SHOUT 85258 service in the past. “On the surface, my life can look ideal.

“However, there have been times where I’ve felt extremely overwhelmed, causing my anxiety and depression to become hard to handle.

“I was in a dark place, and I knew I needed help, but didn’t know how to communicate it aloud. 

“Simply texting with a volunteer who listened to how I was struggling was exactly what I needed.

“I felt validated and that what I was feeling was normal. They helped me to come up with my own care solutions, and recommended calming exercises and other helpful resources.

“The chat must have lasted about half an hour, and at no point did I feel judged or silly.  

“I’d encourage anybody who’s feeling down, and lives, studies or works Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to use HEAR 85258.

“Sharing what’s on your mind can make an enormous difference and all it takes is one text message.” 

Dr Emma Tiffin, clinical mental health lead at NHS Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, said: “We know that getting the right help at the right time is crucial when it comes to our mental health and wellbeing.

“That’s why we're proud to launch HEAR 85258 across the county and offer this free and confidential mental health service for people who may need some extra support.  

“Texting the word HEAR to 85258 is free and easy to do. It won’t appear on a mobile bill and requires no app, data, password, or registration. 

“It’s all on your terms; you can share as much information as you feel comfortable in doing so with the trained volunteers, all of whom do an incredible job at listening and providing support, with absolutely no judgement.” 

For more information about what mental health services are available in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, visit www.keep-your-head.com 

If you feel your or somebody’s life is at risk due to their mental health, dial 111 and listen for the option for the mental health crisis team.