Send a Text, Save a Life
Send a Text, Save a Life is a practical and powerful way for you to take action when you are concerned about the welfare of someone you know or care about.
A text can be a comforting reminder that a person is not alone – that you are thinking about them and care about them – and that can help to prevent problems from escalating.
Image: Courtesy of Matthew Johnstone
Send a Text supports the central message of SANE’s Black Dog Campaign – encouraging people to seek help early and talk about their feelings rather than suffering alone in silence.
In some situations, Save a Life means liberating a person from the fear and stigma that so often surrounds mental health problems; by opening up a space for them to talk about how they feel.
Much of the suffering connected to stigma can be reduced or avoided by letting someone know it’s okay to talk and someone is there to listen.
A text is a simple and effective way to reach out and remind a person close to us that we care about what they’re going through.
“I’m going through a depressive breakdown at the moment. You wouldn’t believe what a difference an unsolicited, ‘Are you OK?’ text makes. Please text someone you know. It does help.”SANE supporter
Sending a Text enables positive action before situations develop into a crisis:
- Helping people recognise the early warning signs of mental health problems.
- Empowering people to find and engage with effective support.
- Letting people know they are not alone and that someone cares.
- Making people in need aware that SANE provides free, confidential emotional support.
Message of hope
Often we can tell something is wrong with someone that we are close to, but we don’t know how to start a conversation about what we see happening.
When we want to let a person know we’re concerned we may feel anxious about saying the right thing, or feel unsure about how to deal with any problems the person may reveal if we do speak to them.
SANE recognises these feelings as being potential obstacles to offering help at a crucial early stage of mental health problems.
Send a Text, Save a Life helps to make an important difference by empowering that first crucial step – sending a simple, supportive text message.
Intervening as early as possible is the best way of helping anyone who may be in distress or experiencing mental health problems. In some situations, sending a text message can literally save a life. A text can be a true message of hope.
SANE tries to give people the knowledge, and equip them with a practical toolkit, to recognise important mental health warning signs.
It is widely accepted that intervening as early as possible is the best way of helping anyone who may be in distress or experiencing mental health problems.
There are hundreds of thousands of people who are worried about individuals they love, but unsure how they can help. The perceptions could be about friends, family members, neighbours or colleagues.
Everyone can play a vital role in recognising and responding to the critical early warning signs of vulnerable people, and it does not require specialist skills or extensive training.
How you can help
You could find yourself in situations where you feel that someone ‘isn’t quite themselves’ and they may:
- Seem a bit quiet or withdrawn, perhaps not doing things they used to enjoy.
- Take time off work with a cold or flu, but somehow you feel this isn’t the full story.
- Be more irritable than normal.
- Seem to be tired all the time.
- Have lost their sparkle.
How can Send a Text, Save a Life help?
When you have concerns about someone and you’re unsure what to do, you can send a supportive text message. This is a very discrete and simple way of making contact, and letting the person know you care.
You can reach out in a helpful way, and often you don’t need to address the subject of mental health straight away.
What do I say?
SANE maintains you don’t have to be an expert to offer effective and important support. Often just showing that you care, and that you’re accepting of the other person’s feelings is enough.
The text becomes a message of hope that can encourage a person to ask for help. SANE has a wealth of mental health resources; we provide free, confidential emotional support to people affected by mental health problems, including family, friends, colleagues and carers.
Here are some sample text messages you can use to reach out to someone you know or care about. Let them know you are there for them.
“I’ve noticed you’ve been a bit quiet lately. If there’s anything you’d like to chat about, I’m here and willing to listen.”
“You seem a bit sad lately. Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you.”
“I was wondering if you’re OK? You seem a bit quiet lately. I’m here if you need to chat.”
“Sane.org.uk has tips about how to get help & support.”
Ask if they would like to contact someone for help.
“I just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you. You seem a bit down lately, and I wasn’t sure what to say, but I am thinking of you. If you’d like to talk to someone, I’m here, or Sane.org.uk offers support too.”
“I’m sorry you haven’t been feeling well recently. I’m here if you need a listening ear, or you could contact Sane.org.uk – they’re really helpful.”
“I know it’s not always easy to find words, or to talk about things, but I’d like to let you know I’m thinking of you. Let me know if you’d like to meet, or you could get in touch with Sane.org.uk who offer emotional support.”
What do I do next?
Someone who is stressed, anxious and/or depressed is very likely to be experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation and may well be finding it difficult to communicate.
They may feel ashamed and fearful that people will judge them or that it may effect parts their life in difficult ways. The most important step is to let them know that:
- You are thinking of them.
- You care about their welfare.
- You are there to listen if they want to talk.
How do I know Send a Text, Save a Life works?
Many of the text suggestions are taken directly from our daily work with people in need or crisis.
They are authentic words of support offered by people with first-hand experience of mental illness to one another during difficult times. These are the things that people tell us are most helpful.
In short, they’ve been well tried and tested. And you can adapt and combine them as seems right for your particular situation or the person you’re talking to.