A children’s bereavement charity has launched a 24-hour text service to help young people experiencing “personal crises”.
Winston’s Wish said its new Crisis Messenger messaging service was the “first of its type in the UK”.
Suzie Phillips, from the Cheltenham charity, said young people preferred texting and using social media when “reaching out”.
In 2018, more than 17,000 bereaved children were helped by its helpline.
It said the calls to its helpline “tended to rise over Christmas”.
“More and more young people are wanting to use texts and email, and sometimes social media, as a way of reaching out to people, as a way of feeling that connection,” Ms Phillips said.
“Then if they need additional help then they can be signposted to our other services.”
Luke Mansell became an ambassador for the charity after it helped him to cope with the sudden death of his father when Luke was 15.
Now a teacher, Mr Mansell said: “During that year after my dad passed away, I was just not in a good place myself. I just wasn’t very positive at all.
“It feels almost like a burden to tell your friends because you feel like you’re going to bring them down.
“And it was the same for my family really, because I felt like if I brought it up with my family , it would just refresh memories and it would make other people feel upset.”
The Winston’s Wish Crisis Messenger text service provides free, 24/7 anonymous crisis support across the UK.
Anyone experiencing a crisis and needs support can text WW to 85258.