This is some royally good mental health news.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced on Thursday that they will help fund a new text line in the United Kingdom, called Shout, which will help those who are experiencing a mental health crisis or need someone to talk to.
The free service will connect people in need to trained volunteers over text messaging, and will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. People can reach out to get emotional support for problems with their mental health, bullying, self-harm and more.
“As texting is private and silent, it opens up a whole new way to find help. It provides instant support. You can have a conversation anywhere, at any time ― at school, at home, on the bus, anywhere,” Prince William said in a video announcing Shout. “I am incredibly excited to be launching this service knowing it has the potential to reach thousands of vulnerable people every day.”
William, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle all consulted on the development of Shout, which is an extension of the Crisis Text Line that was created in the United States. Nancy Lublin, CEO and founder of the Crisis Text Line, said she’s happy to see prominent figures like the royals prioritizing mental health and called for other government leaders to do the same.
“We are proud of the work Crisis Text Line and our crisis counselors have done in the United States to ease the pain of Americans,” Lublin said in a statement. “If other world leaders will follow the lead of Prince William, together, we can end this epidemic of emotional crisis.”
The royals’ involvement in the service comes as part of their Heads Together campaign, which they launched in 2016 as a way to bring more awareness to mental health issues and destigmatize them. It’s a necessary initiative that can have a ton of impact: Experts say when public figures talk openly about mental health, it helps others feel less alone. An estimated 1 in 5 American adults will experience a mental health issue in a given year.
The royals also hope to normalize asking for professional support ― something they put into practice in their own lives. In a speech last fall during the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Australian royal tour, Harry emphasized the power of asking for help when you need it. The message was based off his own experience of seeing a mental health professional.
“You need to know that part of being strong and tough is having the courage to seek help when you need it,” he told the crowd. “You must not silently suffer.”
Here’s hoping the new text line is another step toward eliminating silent suffering and that it will help thousands of others find the help they need.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.