The Fab four returns. Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made secret visits to Shout, a crisis text line for those in need, praising the work they do. The entire engagement was done covertly, but some details have gone public as William and Kate joined a volunteer celebration event for the shout, which they launched back in May together with Prince Harry and Meghan.
Nancy Lublin, the Founder of Crisis Text Line in the U.S., has revealed that she is incredibly grateful for how the royals have highlighted the service publicly and shared how the royal have engaged with it under-the-radar.
“They have been into our offices, I think, four times, at this point in time, quietly without anyone knowing,” Lublin said about the four young royals.
She added, “They’ve been to this event without anyone knowing last year. They are really here for the work.”
Describing how the young royals have “thrown themselves into hard issues,” she said: “I think they take their role very seriously, really learning about the data. Learning about how things work. I’m so grateful.”
Shout 85258 is a 24/7 text support service which was deployed with the help of a 3 million pound investment from the Royal Foundation and is also powered by Crisis Text Line. At the moment there are around 1,500 volunteers active on the platform and on average they handle 600 conversations each day. During the event today Prince William described developing Shout as an “amazing journey.” He added, “Catherine and I, and I know I speak for Harry and Meghan as well, couldn’t be more proud of what Shout has accomplished and what you have still to accomplish.”
The future king talked about the “sad demand” for volunteers, saying: “The fact that we’ve had to launch Shout shows how much in need the mental health sector is at the minute.”
He explains how the Heads Together campaign has been successful at “chipping away” at the public stigma around mental health but also pointed out that “it was very important to us that we felt there was tangible support for the mental health community.”
While at the event, the royal couple got the chance to talk with Ian Russel, father of Molly Russel who died by suicide in November 2017 at the age of 14 after looking at graphic content about suicide and self-harm on Instagram.
“After Molly’s death, like so many parents who find themselves bereaved by suicide, we set up a memorial charity in her name,” Russell told T&C. “One of our aims is to better connect young people who need help with the support services that are there to help them. And I can’t think of a better way of doing it than the way Shout does it.”
He added: “Of course I wonder had it been available in the U.K. when Molly was desperately seeking help in 2017 maybe she would be here today.”
Russel also emphasised how the royal becoming involved with Shout “helps ensure that it’s in the news, that it’s seen on social media so that with that extra publicity family who needs to know about it, and, more particularly, youngsters who need to know about it have somewhere to go if they need help.”
He also noted that the support they give is “an absolute genuine passion.” The Russel family received a letter from William earlier this year, which he described as a “very heartfelt, personal letter.”
“So it’s nice today to be able to thank him personally for sending us that letter, which did bring us lots of comforts,” he said.
This isn’t the first time Nancy has met with Prince William, as back in 2016 she was seated next to him at a dinner and said to him: “I’m so grateful of your courage, and it reminds me of your mother and what she did for HIV and Aids.”
“She was really the first and made it OK for…everyone to be able to talk about HIV and Aids. And you’re the first people of your stature to talk about mental health…and really reducing the stigma,” she said.
Describing how Crisis Text Line “spread across the U.S.” after it was launched, Ms Lublin continued: “I like to say that we’re in a growth industry. Pain. Pain is a global growth industry…we just see the numbers rise.”
Today’s event was focused on giving the volunteers the credit they deserve for their service. The royals talked with both volunteers and people they have helped, posed for pictures, as well as receiving a briefing on the impact of the service and statistics of those who have accessed it and why.