This World Mental Health Day - Network Rail’s Southern region is encouraging Londoners to ‘Make a Connection’: Make a Connection Twitter 1200 x 675 Chelsea

Tuesday 10 Oct 2023

This World Mental Health Day - Network Rail’s Southern region is encouraging Londoners to ‘Make a Connection’

Region & Route:
| Southern: Kent
| Southern: Sussex
| Southern: Wessex

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.

  • A new, nationwide report, featuring anonymised data from conversations with 680,000 people, revealed that around 136,000 (15%) of people in Greater London had suffered from loneliness when they contacted the Shout text message support service, run by Mental Health Innovations.

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.

This forms part of the rail industry’s efforts to help reduce suicides on the network by engaging with the public upstream and signposting them to mental health support services at the earliest opportunity. 

Part of the analysis that comprises of more than two million anonymised text message conversations with 680,000 people, shows that 15%of people in Greater London suffered most from loneliness. Meanwhile, just over half of users texting Shout were under 25-years-old (57%) in the London region, with just under a quarter (23.5%) being between the ages of 14-17 and nearly one in seven (7%) 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.” 

Nicola Dooris, Network Rail’s community rail safety manager, said: “World Mental Health Day is a key reminder that we must look out for each other as well as ourselves and that’s why it’s important that we encourage people to reach out if they are not feeling 100%.

“It’s important to look after your mental health and wellbeing and this new campaign is great as it really highlights the crucial role that speaking out and forming connections can have on people.”

Dr Mark Ungless, director of data insights, Mental Health Innovations, commented: “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.” 

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.

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Tala Ghannam
Media Relations Manager (Campaigns) - National
Network Rail
07548 108907

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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