An Update from Shout
Shout’s third quarter of 2021 has been a busy one. We had anticipated a reduction in texter numbers over the summer as society opened back up following lockdown buthave seen persistently high numbers of texters over this period with between 1,200 and1,650 conversations per 24 hour period. Many of these happen overnight starting with an increase in texters from around 6pm in the evening and climbing steadily towards and beyond midnight.
In the latter part of this quarter children and young people have returned to school and to tertiary education. While educational transitions are already recognised as potential stress factors, this year we have seen the added social and emotional challenges associated with the pandemic lockdowns and the obvious impact this has had on texters’ anxiety, low mood and confidence. Our clinicians noticed a distinct increase in conversations during this transition period with many children and young people anxious about returning to education. This has been further evidenced through our data insights work.
In September, we released our Supporting Student Mental Health Report which revealed that, since January 2021, we have had around 78,000 conversations with 27,600 students, with the primary presenting issues being anxiety, depression, low mood, suicidal ideation, relationship challenges, and isolation and loneliness. Given these unprecedented times, it is not surprising that so many young people are reaching out for support.
The positive side to supporting these high numbers of texters, is that those who contact us are reaching out to connect with someone so that they can talk through their anxieties and fears. Connectedness is one of the most important factors associated with mental health and wellbeing and, more often than not, the opportunity to have a conversation with someone who is attentive, compassionate, non-judgemental and reassuring, is sufficient to bring a sense of calm and equilibrium to those in need of support.
Dr Fiona Pienaar, Senior Clinical Advisor