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TMCNet:  Send unconditional support to someone who needs it during Covid-19: #TextForHumanity extends its service - allows anyone to send a message of gratitude to frontline heroes

[May 19, 2020]

Send unconditional support to someone who needs it during Covid-19: #TextForHumanity extends its service - allows anyone to send a message of gratitude to frontline heroes

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN and SEATTLE, WA, MAY 19, 2020 – We have all been restricted, more isolated, more lonely, during Covid-19 than anytime in modern history. Many have lost loved ones. Others are fighting on the frontline, putting themselves in harm’s way for the rest of us.

Through the world’s first texting switchboard, you can now send a message of unconditional support to a stranger or a frontline hero – and get one in return. Alongside regular text messaging, the service is now also available on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

The Text For Humanity switchboard, created by Sinch in partnership with Mental Health America (MHA), originally launched in January to combat online negativity and promote the sharing of positive messages. To date, more than 83,000 messages of positivity have been exchanged across 85 countries.

As the world moves into the next phase of the crisis, #TextForHumanity now enables people choosing to participate to identify themselves as either a frontline worker, or someone living in isolation. In turn, senders can choose the group they would like to send a personalized message of thanks and support. Frontline workers include anyone from nurses and doctors to delivery drivers and grocery store staff – people performing the vital jobs that are keeping society going. 

There is no charge for the service. Neither Sinch nor MHA profit from Text For Humanity. 

MHA’s screening numbers have been growing since the start of the pandemic. MHA has seen a 70% increase in the number of people taking an anxiety (GAD-7) screen and a 64% increase in the number of people taking a depression (PHQ-9) screen between January and April. 

According to the UK’s Office of National Statistics*, nearly half (46.9%) of adults have reported high levels of anxiety through this period, with 51% saying the crisis was affecting their wellbeing.

“These are worrying times for many people and psychological wellbeing is severely impacted. We anticipate these issues will continue as people adjust to the changes in restrictions,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of Mental Health America. “Prolonged isolation can increase incidences of poor mental health, particularly for the most vulnerable in society. And then there’s the incredible burden placed on brave frontline workers. People putting their own lives at risk while saving others, and keeping society safe and functioning. We see Text For Humanity as an important route to engage them.” 

“MHA and similar organizations will play a vital role in supporting society through this challenging period. Even as the world returns to what’s been described as the ‘new normal’, it’s clear that this process risks creating furter anxiety,” said Oscar Werner, Chief Executive Officer at Sinch. “Knowing the impact Text For Humanity achieved in a small space of time, we felt the switchboard could do more to aid the global COVID-19 effort. 

“It was originally designed to send positivity to any stranger. After witnessing coordinated acts of thanks, hope and unity between frontline workers and those in isolation, we were inspired to create something that helps amplify this energy.” 

Text For Humanity is enabled by WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and SMS so it’s easy for anyone with even the most basic phone to join. This is particularly important for the elderly who are among the least likely to own a smartphone. 

  1. Text JOIN to 37352 (U.S. only) or +1 833 421-4726 (additional international number options and links to WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are available on TextForHumanity.com). The service will ask for a couple of simple details including whether you are a frontline worker or living in isolation. As before, all data is stored securely, and no personal or identifying details will be known or shared.
  1. Write a short message that gives a frontline worker or someone in isolation a smile. There are tips to help get started on TextForHumanity.com.
  1.  #TextForHumanity will share your message with a fellow human somewhere in the world. The service is currently run in English language only. You can opt out at any time by simply replying STOP to the service.

  1. Receive a positive message on your phone. Messages you receive can also be transformed into vibrant and personalised artwork that can be easily shared from a smartphone on social media.

The texting switchboard from Sinch, the global leader in cloud communications for mobile customer engagement is built on its cloud and mobile communications platform, used by many of the world’s major technology and telecom firms.

MHA has developed comprehensive resources related to COVID-19 and mental health. Visit www.mhanational.org/covid19 to learn more.

Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain: 16 April 2020. Office of National Statistics.

-Ends-

For more information, please contact:
Jeff Hasen
Director of Communications
Sinch
jeff.hasen@sinch.com

About Sinch
Sinch brings businesses and people closer with tools enabling personal engagement. Its leading cloud communications platform lets businesses reach every mobile phone on the planet, in seconds or less, through mobile messaging, voice and video. Sinch is a trusted software provider to mobile operators, and its platform powers business-critical communications for many of the world’s largest companies. Sinch has been profitable and fast-growing since its foundation in 2008. It is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, and has local presence in more than 30 countries. Shares are traded at NASDAQ Stockholm: XSTO:SINCH. Visit us at sinch.com.

About Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA) is the United States’ leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal.

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