The U.K.'s royal family is taking Mental Health Awareness Month seriously, and their new initiative has the potential to help countless people. The Royal Family's crisis text line, Shout, will be helmed by volunteers assisting vulnerable citizens who reach out for help.
Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William, and Kate Middleton all teamed up to launch the new helpline, E! News reported. Shout is affiliated with the U.S.'s Crisis Text Line, and it's a free resource where U.K. citizens can contact volunteers about mental health questions and issues. If you are in crisis in the U.S., text ROYALS to 741741 for confidential, free support from Crisis Text Line. If you're in the U.K., you can text SHOUT to 85258.
The four royals' charity work has focused on mental health in the past, so it's not a surprise that they'd choose to continue advocating for the topic in their new initiative. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are focusing on mental health awareness and treatment this month, following just 16 accounts on Instagram that all fall under the mental health umbrella. They'll change their focus (and following list) each month; May's topic comes in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month and the U.K.'s Mental Health Awareness Week.
Plus, E! News points out that the Shout helpline is a part of the royals' Heads Together campaign, another mental health resource for U.K. residents.
The four royals issued a statement about the Shout initiative, emphasizing how many people it could reach. Entertainment Tonight noted that the Shout initiative could help young people, in particular, who might be more likely to reach out to a text-based helpline than to a call center.
"We are incredibly excited to be launching this service, knowing it has the potential to reach thousands of vulnerable people every day," the four royals said in a statement provided to various media outlets. "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."
In addition to the new helpline and to spotlighting mental health resources on the @SussexRoyal Instagram account, Prince Harry is also working with Oprah Winfrey on an Apple TV series about mental health. The docuseries is expected to launch in 2020.
Prince Harry, along with his fellow royals, is clearly passionate about ending the stigma that can sometimes come with talking about mental health and seeking treatment. By creating new resources like Shout, in addition to highlighting the resources the U.K. and U.S. already have available, the royals could inspire innumerable people to seek help for themselves or for others. There's no shame in seeking treatment, or in talking about mental health issues. And initiatives like this one can only help change the narrative even more.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.
Editor's Note: This post has been updated to include the text line numbers.