*Britain’s’ fab four, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are supporting a new mental health initiative in the U.K. through the launch of Shout, an affiliate of Crisis Text Line that offers free, confidential mental health support via text, PEOPLE reports.
According to a press release from Kensington Palace, the service will provide 24/7 assistance to anyone experiencing mental health problems,
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“We are incredibly excited to be launching this service, knowing it has the potential to reach thousands of vulnerable people every day,” the royals said in a statement. “Over the last few months Shout has started working quietly behind the scenes. We have all been able to see the service working up close and are so excited for its future.”
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Today in the UK, a critical new 24/7 text helpline has launched – @giveusashoutinsta This free text messaging helpline is a private, silent and trusted way, for those experiencing mental health challenges to find a safe space to seek help and support. This is an extension of the @heads_together initiative backed by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Earlier last year, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex began supporting this vital program behind the scenes by hosting a meeting at Kensington Palace with contributors and partners. Last November, Their Royal Highnesses also made a surprise visit to meet with a group of Shout volunteers, and participated in a panel with mental health activist @bryonygordon hearing firsthand how the volunteers have found making the connection with vulnerable texters, a majority of whom are under 25, so rewarding – helping to get them through a moment of crisis to a calmer place, and giving them courage to find longer-term support. Powered by a team of trained volunteers, Shout has already quietly enlisted and trained 1,000 volunteers over the last 12 months, whom in turn have helped 60,000 people. SHOUT is modeled on @crisistextline in the US, which since 2013 has processed more than 100 million messages, Shout is the largest initiative of The Royal Foundation to date, in partnership with @heads_together. Tapping into the UK’s volunteer community, Shout aims to recruit 3,000 additional volunteers by the end of the year. Mobilizing a volunteer community with this innovative use of technology will go a long way in helping people get the critical help they need, often in the darkest of times, when those are privately and silently suffering and afraid to seek help. To sign up to volunteer, visit www.giveusashout.org Be the change you wish to see in the world.
The statement continued: “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 more of you will join us and be part of something very special.”
Crisis Text Line has been in the U.S. for over five years, and with the help of 5,000 trained crisis volunteers, the company has reportedly processed 100 million messages.
Nancy Lublin, the CEO and founder of Crisis Text Line dished with PEOPLE about why the royal family is the perfect partner for the U.K. initiative.
“They’re really the first celebrities around the world to really take on mental health,” Lublin says. “It’s been so personal and they’ve done such a fantastic job elevating the issue and reducing stigma.”
She added, “They’ve visited our offices multiple times in the U.K., they’ve met with volunteers — which is so special. They’ve really been very hands-on.”
Lublin also noted that “I think it’s so powerful. We really couldn’t ask for better spokespeople and champions. Mental health is the epidemic of this generation.”
As we previously reported, Harry and Oprah have teamed for a series of documentaries focused on mental health for Apple as co-creators and co-executive producers.
“I truly believe that good mental health — mental fitness — is the key to powerful leadership, productive communities and a purpose-driven self,” Harry said in an announcement on the @sussexroyal Instagram page.