New data: 15.5% of people in Wales have contacted support service because of loneliness as Network Rail encourages public to ‘Make a Connection’ for World Mental Health Day: Make a Connection campaign poster 1

Tuesday 10 Oct 2023

New data: 15.5% of people in Wales have contacted support service because of loneliness as Network Rail encourages public to ‘Make a Connection’ for World Mental Health Day

Region & Route:
Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Wales & Western
  • Network Rail joins digital charity Mental Health Innovations and the wider rail industry to launch new campaign Make a Connection - encouraging the public to text the keyword ‘Journey’ to 85258 for free and confidential mental health support, 24/7  
  • New nationwide report, featuring anonymised data from conversations with 680,000 people, reveals 15.5% of people in Wales had issues of loneliness when they contacted the Shout text message support service, run by Mental Health Innovations   
  • More than half of users from Wales who texted Shout about loneliness were under 25-years-old (61%) with almost a quarter (24.5%) being between the ages of 14-17, with almost one in ten (9%) being 13 and under 

Network Rail has joined digital charity Mental Health Innovations and the wider rail industry to remind the public that help is just a text message away this World Mental Health Day.  

The new campaign, Make a Connection, encourages people to text the bespoke keyword ‘Journey’ to 85258 to access the Shout service - run by Mental Health Innovations - for free and confidential mental health support, 24/7. It forms part of the rail industry’s efforts to help reduce suicides on the network by engaging with the public and signposting them to mental health support services at the earliest opportunity.   

The campaign comes as a new nationwide report identifies the top reasons why people contact the Shout text message support service. The analysis, comprising more than two million anonymised text message conversations with 680,000 people, shows that 15.5% of people who contacted the service from Wales had loneliness as an issue. Meanwhile, more than half of users in the region texting Shout about loneliness are under 25-years-old (61%) with almost a quarter (24.5%) being between the ages of 14-17 and almost one in ten (9%) being 13 and under.   

Reasons for loneliness highlighted by the report include relationship breakdowns, bereavement and relocation to new areas without friends, family, or community networks. The report finds making meaningful connections, where you feel fully supported and valued, is fundamental to positive mental health and a key antidote to loneliness.   

Emily Middlebrough knows the importance of making meaningful connections. After feeling isolated at university and being diagnosed with bipolar disorder aged 22, Emily contacted Shout for help. Living in busy student halls, the silent and discreet nature of Shout appealed and helped to set her on a journey to recovery. Emily now writes about having bipolar disorder to show others they’re not alone and, having been inspired by the person who helped her when she needed it the most, has gone on to become a Shout Volunteer.      

Emily said: “Just being able to message someone who would listen without judgement to all my worries and how much I was struggling with my diagnosis was a game changer. They didn’t tell me what to do or how to feel, instead empowering me to make my own decisions about my care and what I needed at that time. 

“The experience has helped to shape the person I am today and I’d encourage everyone to talk about how they’re feeling. Reaching out for help and making that connection made a real difference.” 

Dr Mark Ungless, Director of Data Insights, Mental Health Innovations said: “Making meaningful connection plays an important role in supporting good mental health and wellbeing. Shout is playing a crucial role in offering people the opportunity to make a meaningful, digital connection when they are feeling lonely and in distress.” 

Louise McNally, suicide prevention lead, Network Rail said: “World Mental Health Day is a timely reminder that we continue to look out for each other and ourselves. That’s why we’re encouraging people to make that important connection through the Shout text message support service.”      

To find out more about Make a Connection, visit    

Notes to Editors

For more information about Network Rail and the wider rail industry’s work to support mental health and reduce suicides, visit 


About the research 

Mental Health Innovations interrogated a subset of Shout data, which comprises more than two million text message conversations with 680,000 people across the UK. The report involved in-depth analyses of anonymised data associated with more than 180,000 conversations with Shout texters about loneliness, using a combination of cutting-edge data science combined with qualitative psychological techniques. This approach has revealed insights into the underlying themes raised and the most popular resources and coping skills texters use to help manage their loneliness.  

About Mental Health Innovations 

Shout is the first service from Mental Health Innovations – a mental health charity using digital innovation, data-driven analysis and the experience of clinical experts to improve the mental health of the UK population. Mental Health Innovations was founded in November 2017, with the support of the Royal Foundation of The Prince and Princess of Wales.  

About Shout 

Shout is the UK's only free, 24/7 text messaging support service for anyone who is struggling to cope. Shout was publicly launched in May 2019 and has taken more than two million conversations with 680,000 people who are anxious, stressed, depressed, suicidal or overwhelmed and who need immediate support. The service provides round the clock support from trained volunteers, supervised and supported in real time by an expert Clinical team. Shout currently responds to 1,500-2,000 requests for support every day. Shout is the first service from charity Mental Health Innovations, whose mission is to use technology to give everyone in the UK access to the digital mental health services that they need.  

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Emily Maiden
Network Rail

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