The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke with a teenager who turned to the Shout text helpline in a moment of crisis last week, hearing about his experience and how the organisation helped him through a dangerous moment.
The young man, whose name was changed to protect his privacy, spoke with William and Kate via video call, along with his parents. Their voices were altered on the call as well.
Jack was experiencing severe anxiety caused by the coronavirus pandemic and texted a Shout volunteer from a high bridge, ready to end his life. The Shout volunteer talked with Jack throughout his crisis and encouraged him to get to safety and call the police to help him.
Jack’s parents credit Shout and the volunteer for helping their son through his crisis. “We have no doubt that what happened between Shout when he was stood on that bridge was enough to save his life and now it sounds so abstract and bizarre, slightly, but when we reflect on it, we know the conversation that Shout have had with our son was pivotal in him not doing anything that he would regret later. That is amazing.”
William said, “This service is doing exactly what we hoped it would, which is be there for families in crisis. It’s nice to be able to speak to you directly and hear about what has gone on here, how it has helped you, and really what it has done.”
According to a press release from Shout, Jack told the royals that “having a conversation with Shout over text, rather than talking out loud, made it easier to be open about difficult emotions,” and that young people should be encouraged to learn about mental health and to talk about their feelings with others.
Jack told Kate, “[Mental health is] a subject that’s ignored quite a lot in some schools – so, awareness in that sense, and making it so people can relate to you as well.”
Kate agreed, saying, “That it’s something that is made to feel familiar and just part of everyday life, it’s proved really hard and I really agree with you that within schools, if it is normalised and made part of life and school life so that when people are going through a hard time, they know how to talk about it.”
Shout launched in May 2019 as a free and confidential crisis textline for young people who need help, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Since its launch, more than 2,400 volunteers have responded to over 550,000 texts from those in need.