William and Kate search for 3,000 volunteers to help support people with mental health problems as they launch free UK help service ‘Shout’
- William and Kate have launched service to help those with mental health issues
- Prince William said ‘Shout’ will be free, anonymous and available 24-hours a day
- The Royal couple have launched campaign to find 3,000 volunteers to man it
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last night launched a campaign to find 3,000 volunteers to help support individuals with mental health problems.
Announcing the initiative at Kensington Palace yesterday, Prince William revealed that the national service – also backed by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – would be free, anonymous and available all day every day.
Called ‘Shout’, it will be manned by specially-trained volunteers who will provide instant support via text message. Volunteers are backed by a clinical team offering assistance as they deal with issues ranging from suicide to relationship break-ups, as well as the effects of abuse or bullying.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge last night launched a campaign to find 3,000 volunteers to help support individuals with mental health problems. Pictured, Prince William meeting crisis volunteers working with Shout
If the caller is deemed to be at immediate risk, they will be passed to emergency services.
In 2016 William, Kate and Prince Harry launched their ‘Heads Together’ campaign to break down the stigma around mental health. The initiative proved a huge success – far more so than they had anticipated, William admitted yesterday – proving people need to take mental health as seriously as their physical well-being.
William said: ‘At the time, we made clear we wanted to see lasting change and see something tangible come out of the whole campaign.
‘Over the last year, together with Meghan now as well, we have been working behind the scenes on a special new project to deliver those legacies. For me, a key priority has been ensuring we harness the latest technologies to connect people in a positive way.’ It was developed as a text messaging service as many people, particularly the young, find this easier than calling a helpline.
The royals teamed up with Mental Health Innovations and Crisis Text Line to trial the initiative over the last year, and have invested £3million from their charitable foundation – the largest investment they have made so far.
A team of 1,000 volunteers have already handled around 60,000 ‘conversations’ – estimated to rise to around one million in a year.
The service will cost £4million a year to run, but William said it would be worth every penny.
A team of 1,000 volunteers have already handled around 60,000 ‘conversations’ – estimated to rise to around one million in a year. Pictured, Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, meet crisis volunteers working with Shout
Announcing the initiative at Kensington Palace yesterday, Prince William revealed that the national service – also backed by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex – would be free, anonymous and available all day every day. Pictured Harry and Meghan meet Shout volunteers
He added: ‘That’s 60,000 moments when people who were feeling scared, alone and frightened were able to use their phone to connect with someone who could support them.’
‘Harry, Meghan, Catherine and I have been able to see the service working up close and are very excited for its future.
‘At the heart of Shout will be an incredible national volunteer community, one which needs to grow to allow us to support more people in crisis.’
William said the ‘difficult’ nature of the conversations may not be for everyone, but hoped the number of volunteers would keep growing.
Smiling, he invited his wife Kate, dressed in a striped jumper and ankle-grazing wide-legged trousers, to take the floor. She talked about her work with vulnerable children and the importance of intervening before they develop mental problems. She added: ‘Sadly for so many they have already reached a crisis situation. That’s why we believe that Shout is so important.’
For information about Shout and volunteering opportunities, see www.giveusashout.org.