Launched by Kate, William, Meghan, and Harry, mental health service Shout is "the UK's first free 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis, anytime, anywhere," as the service describes on their site. This morning, William and Kate posted a video by Shout on their Instagram in support of World Suicide Prevention Day, urging followers to share the service's message to "ensure no-one goes through a crisis alone."
The video, which features people reading text messages from those in crisis, highlights how the service has given a lifeline to people that "are struggling to cope" and "need immediate help." The caption read:
"There are a thousand ways to start a conversation about your crisis, @GiveUsAShoutInsta is here for all of them. Text Shout to 85258 for 24/7 support 🇬🇧📱 Save and Share this World Suicide Prevention Day to ensure no-one goes through a crisis alone. #WSPD #WSPD2019 #Shout85258"
As the service's website states, this form of help already "exists in the U.S. as 'Crisis Text Line', but [Shout] is the first time the tried and tested technology has come to the UK."
Prince William has revealed that he himself "intends to train as a volunteer counsellor" for Shout, the Evening Standard reports. "I'm aiming to set myself up for it, I really want to do it," he said. "Even if I can only do an hour on my laptop. I want to do the training and be able to help."
On Sept. 9, Shout announced that it would also provide support for members of the emergency services community, as the Belfast Telegraph reports. "Now members of the emergency services community, retired or serving, and their families can text BLUELIGHT to 85258 and be connected to a trained and supervised volunteer," the newspaper writes.
"Supporting the mental health and well-being of the fire and rescue services community is central to our ambitions as a charity," chief executive of the Fire Fighters Charity Dr Jill Tolfrey said in a statement (via the Belfast Telegraph) before continuing:
"So we are delighted to support an initiative that complements our own work and shares our desire to make mental health support available and accessible to as many people in need as possible."
As noted by the Belfast Telegraph, emergency service charities and organisations like the National Crime Agency, the Ambulance Staff Charity, and Police Care UK already lend their support to Shout and back its initiative.
"We know that there is still a lot of stigma attached to seeking help that many officers and staff don't feel comfortable seeking help from in their own force," Cheif Constable Andy Rhodes, service director for the National Police Wellbeing Service, said. "Having this helpline as another option for them to get help if they need it in a time of crisis is vital and very much welcomed."
During a visit with the Fire Fighters Charity, William spoke of his admiration for the emergency services, and the affect they have on communities across the country.
"What I always find with the blue light community is that you put the hat and the uniform on day in day out and you see whole families being torn apart," he said (via the Evening Standard). "You try and compartmentalise, you try not to bring it back to your own family but after a while one or two jobs catch up with you. If the blue light community can be more open about the things that bother them, then others can as well." He continued:
"We are not robots and, if you are in the emergency services for long enough, you see really distressing things. All that weighs upon you, and if you have something going on at home — family illnesses — it all gets on top of you, too many things to keep a lid on."