#GiveUsAShout: Royals Launch Mental Health Crisis Text Service

Becky Banham
By Becky Banham,
updated on May 10, 2019

#GiveUsAShout: Royals Launch Mental Health Crisis Text Service

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have launched Shout – a free, 24/7 text messaging service for people experiencing mental health crisis

Shout, the new service connecting people in crisis to trained volunteers who provide help at a time when it is most needed has launched today. Available to anyone in a crisis, anytime and anywhere, it’s a place to go if you are struggling to cope and you need immediate help.

Researched and developed with a £3 million grant from the Royal Foundation, a charity which the royal couples set up together, the service operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service aims to help people experiencing problems - from suicidal thoughts to bullying and relationship issues - move from “crisis to calm”.

Shout has been piloted in the UK for the past year, and its body of 1,000 volunteers have already responded to 60,000 conversations. So far, 85% of those users are under 25.

“That is 60,000 moments when people who were feeling scared, frightened and alone were able to use their phone to connect with someone who could support them,” Prince William said at a launch event at Kensington Palace.

At the heart of the service are Crisis Volunteers. These volunteers are paired with a dedicated, personal coach from the start of their training and all conversations are supported by clinically trained professionals.

The text messages are anonymous - unless the client wants to give their name - and are reviewed in real time by a panel of qualified psychotherapists who can take control if they feel there is a problem in the direction of the discussion. To find out more about volunteering with Shout, visit the website.

The service is separate from the Samaritans which already operates a phone line and an email service using 20,000 volunteers who answer more than five million calls a year - the equivalent of one every six seconds.

Shout will allow people to open up a text chat with a volunteer working remotely (most likely at home), who has been trained to listen, reassure and guide people. It has been modelled on the US-based Crisis Text Line, which was launched in August 2013 and has so far handled 100 million texts. This service saw particular spikes around moments such as the suicide of the comedian Robin Williams and the broadcast of the Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why.

If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support, text Shout to 85258.

If your life is in imminent danger, please call 999.

For further mental health support and to find a therapist in your local area, use the search bar below.

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