Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have joined forces to launch a new text messaging helpline. ‘Shout’, aims to support people suffering from mental health issues, and is backed by a £3m grant from their Royal Foundation.
Shout is a 24-hour texting service offering confidential mental health support for people experiencing a “tough moment” by connecting them with trained volunteers. Prince William is asking for more people to work as volunteers for Shout. The service hopes to have 4,000 volunteers by the end of the year. Shout provides “instant support,” adding: “You can have a conversation anywhere and anytime – at school, at home, on the bus, anywhere.”
A 12-month pilot took place last year, 1,000 volunteers signed up for Shout which was run by the charity Mental Health Innovations and 60,000 conversations took place. Research by Shout suggests 85% of the texts were sent by people aged 25 or younger. “That is 60,000 moments when people who were feeling scared, frightened and alone were able to use their phone to connect with someone who could support them,” Prince William said at a launch event at Kensington Palace.
The service is in collaboration with UK-based Crisis Text Line. William, Kate, Harry and Megan have been involved in mental health initiatives since the launch of their ‘Heads Together’ campaign in 2016.