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How an Entrepreneur Launched a Mental Health Text Service After Attending a Funeral, Pub Night, and Flight



Emma Payne, CEO of Help Texts, is offering a unique subscription service that provides customized, supportive text messages for those experiencing grief, caregiving for a loved one, or seeking mental health care. The service offers twice-weekly messages that are pre-written by humans and reflect input from experts in various fields. The approach is focused on providing therapeutic support without the expectation of a response from the subscriber. Recent research has shown that over 83% of users who experienced a loss in the UK kept their subscription for a full year, with the majority finding the program to be helpful and supportive.

Payne was inspired to create Help Texts after attending her friend’s memorial service and realizing the challenges of expressing condolences to those experiencing grief. The service, which started in 2015, aims to provide personalized texts based on the subscriber’s situation, including details about the loss and important dates. Subscribers can also provide contact information for friends or family members who will receive messages encouraging them to reach out to the bereaved. The service, which costs $99 for a 12-month subscription, has been used by individuals, employers, government agencies, charities, and more.

Despite the absence of direct dialogue between users and the platform, Help Texts monitors messages from subscribers and provides assistance to those in need, such as individuals sharing suicidal thoughts. While the company does not use generative AI to interact with users, Payne believes that AI technology could be valuable for training therapists and developing language models for grief treatment. Help Texts is available in 24 languages and is utilized by subscribers in 44 countries, proving to be a valuable resource for individuals seeking support during difficult times.

The success of Help Texts has been a result of Payne’s experience as a serial entrepreneur, focusing on creating a financially viable and scalable business model from the start. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company experienced significant growth in recent years, expanding its services to include messages for pet loss and support for healthcare workers experiencing burnout. Payne believes that bereavement care is often overlooked as a healthcare concern and emphasizes the importance of providing support during vulnerable times in people’s lives.

As Help Texts continues to grow and evolve, Payne remains passionate about her mission to provide meaningful support to individuals experiencing grief and loss. The service has the potential to make a significant impact on public health by addressing the emotional needs of individuals during challenging times. With a focus on accessibility, affordability, and scalability, Help Texts is positioned to reach a broader audience and make a positive difference in the world of mental health care and grief support.

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