The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge marked the first anniversary of one of their key mental health services during a video call this week. Kensington Palace released footage on Friday from Prince William and Kate's Zoom chat with five volunteers from Shout85258, the UK's first 24/7 crisis text line.
WATCH: William and Kate speak to crisis volunteers
The couple spoke with volunteers Jo Irwin, Alexis Caught, Jo Booth, Michelle Fernandes and Kiel McPhilips, as well as CEO Victoria Hornby, from their Norfolk home on Wednesday, about how Shout is playing a vital role as the country continues to deal with the impact of coronavirus. The volunteers also told the Duke and Duchess about the impact the lockdown has had on young people's mental wellbeing, including how many are finding it harder to access their usual ways of maintaining good mental health, but the difference a supportive text conversation can make.
Prince William thanked the team for their work during the call, saying: "You guys are the trailblazers, you have been doing a fantastic job keeping Shout moving forward, so well done and thank you for all your hard work; we really appreciate it."
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William and Kate chatted with Crisis volunteers
Crisis volunteer Alexis said: "The unique support that Shout is able to provide to people in crisis is crucial at all times, but now more than ever it can serve as a lifeline to those most in need - whatever they're going through, big or small. Without the hundreds of volunteers who give up their time to provide help and reassurance to others, the service simply wouldn't be able to function. That is why it was so great to hear the Duke and Duchess speak so positively not only about Shout's work but also encouraging people to get support with their mental health. We want to send a very clear message to anyone who is looking for someone to reach out to – we are here to listen to you anytime, anywhere about any problem."
Last month, Shout joined forces with leading mental health charities Mind, Samaritans and Hospice UK to create Our Frontline, a new initiative supported by the Royal Foundation, which provides round the clock mental health and bereavement support to frontline staff and key workers. This is one of 30 partnerships Shout has formed, enabling charities, local authorities, employers and universities to provide the service to those in need of support.
William and Kate attended an event in November 2019 to celebrate Shout's volunteers
The organisation has launched a new campaign to promote its service, by challenging people to form the shape of the 85258 text number with their hands to create videos to upload on to social media platforms, using the hashtag #Shout85258. In a first for William and Kate's KensingtonRoyal social media account, one of the first Shout Crisis volunteers will take over its Instagram Stories on Saturday 16 May, to share videos and answer Q&As in support of the campaign.
Shout was launched in May 2019 by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex after a £3 million investment from the Royal Foundation. Prince Harry and Meghan also joined a staff meeting by video call with the Crisis Text Line team in the US (the sister organisation of Shout UK), on Thursday to thank them for their work.
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