The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have teamed up to launch a new mental health-based initiative that will provide round-the-clock support to people in need.
Shout is a free text-based direct-messaging helpline that will match up people needing support with trained volunteers, and all it takes is a text message. This is the first service of its kind in the UK.
In a video to launch Shout, William says, “As texting is private and silent, it opens up a whole new way to find help.”
The video shows Shout volunteers, as well as footage of William, Kate, Harry and Meghan, carrying out engagements related to mental health.
“Harry, Meghan, Catherine and I have been able to see this service working up close and are very excited for its future.”
Shout was launched in partnership with Mental Health Innovations, a digital mental health charity, which is a legacy from the Heads Together campaign that William, Kate and Harry formed in 2016.
“We wanted to work with all of you to change the national conversation on mental health,” William says about Heads Together. “There is more to do, but things are starting to change.”
Shout has a US counterpart, Crisis Text Line, which, since its launch in 2013, has seen over 100 million messages exchanged.
William says that Shout is the biggest investment The Royal Foundation has ever undertaken and that he is “extremely excited to be launching this incredible service knowing it has the potential to reach thousands of vulnerable people every day.”
Shout will collate anonymised data that will give “unique insights into mental health trends to help improve people’s lives,” according to its official website.
Shout currently has a team of 1,000 volunteers but is hoping to expand that to 4,000 by the end of the year. All volunteers are fully trained online for 25 hours and can volunteer from anywhere they have a secure internet connection.
In a joint statement from William, Kate, Harry and Meghan, they talk about the need for more volunteers.
“At the heart of this service will be an incredible national volunteer community, one which needs to grow to allow us to support more people in crisis. We hope that many of you will join us and be part of something very special.”
Nancy Lublin, the Founder and CEO of Crisis Text Line, wrote a blog post on the Crisis Text Line website sharing her excitement that Shout is launching in the UK.
“We’re so proud that The Royal Foundation determined to bring Crisis Text Line to the UK and supported the launch resources and time. William, Catherine, Harry, and Meghan have each visited our offices in the UK a few times, meeting with staff and volunteers to see firsthand how the service and platform function.”
Lublin also spoke about the charitable work that the Cambridges and the Sussexes are undertaking.
“When I had dinner seated next to [William] in November 2016, it occurred to me that [he] is doing for mental health what his mother Diana did for AIDS: be the first to shine a light on an issue mired in stigma. Embracing the issue and people with AIDS, she changed everything. Already we see more celebrities, funding, [organisations], and media attention for the suicide epidemic and mental health thanks to the efforts of Diana’s sons and their wives. We’re grateful they selected us to be part of their movement.”
Anyone needing Shout’s services can send a text message to 85258 with the word ‘Shout’ in the body.