A new digital switchboard service, Text for Humankind, allows anyone in the world to send free messages of support to frontline healthcare workers and people in isolation amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the service has already facilitated over 80,000 messages across 85 countries.
“These are worrying times for many people and psychological wellbeing is severely impacted,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO of MHA. “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.”
Text for Humanity was initially launched in January 2020 to combat online negativity and create connection and kindness among strangers around the world. But it has taken on even greater meaning and importance during the times of COVID-19, when so many frontline workers are overwhelmed with responsibility and others are isolated from human connection in their homes. MHA reports at least a 60% increase in the number of people taking an anxiety or depression screen over the last four months.
To join the service, text JOIN to 37352 (U.S. only) or +1 833-421-4726. Options are also available in both Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp.
Once you’ve joined, you simply write a kind, supportive message and Text for Humanity will send it to a stranger in need. They’ll also encourage the stranger to send you a response in return!
So often, we think of our phones, computers, and the internet as destructive, disconnecting forces in our society. We lament how much time we spend on our phones. We feel nostalgia for the good old days when we were focused on connecting with people face-to-face, rather than numbing out and hiding behind our phones.
Text for Humanity is one small reminder that our modern technology is also an incredible force for kindness around the world. When used in a healthy way, it can be a radical force in creating human connection across the globe, and in doing so fight loneliness, anxiety, depression, and other diseases of despair.
What’s stopping you from sending a message of kindness to someone in need?