The Duchess of Cambridge carried out a solo engagement today by visiting mental health charity, Shout.
The visit coincided with the charity marking over over one million text conversations with those struggling to cope. Catherine met with those who volunteer for the service, as well as individuals who have raised funds for the organisation.
Shout is the UK’s only 24/7 mental health text service. The charity was launched in 2019, after being given a grant from The Royal Foundation. It provides round-the-clock support from clinical supervisors and over 2,500 trained volunteers to people struggling with their mental health.
Upon arriving to the charity, Kate learned how the data from the conversations taking place on the Shout service can be used to provide insights on mental health in the UK.
Suicide, depression and anxiety/stress were named as the main reasons for individuals reaching out and using the charity as they search for support.
Since the charity began in 2019, it has received over 1,000,000 conversations with people who need immediate support. They have seen a 140% increase in user demand since the pandemic began.
The Duchess met 13-year-old Scout, Leo Street, slept outside under a tarpaulin to keep safe from the weather whilst he raised money for the charity. He raised £8,000 for Shout.
The mother of three told the young teen: “There really isn’t a big enough Scout badge for that. What you achieved is really inspiring. You must have had some impressive kit to keep warm.”
He told the Duchess his next fundraising adventure will be to cycle to Scotland during half term. Kate called Leo an ‘inspiration’.
Last year, The Duchess of Cambridge became the Joint President of the Scouts, alongside The Duke of Kent but she has had a long affiliation with the youth organisation since she joined the Royal Family.
Her Royal Highness also met Cassie Waters who began raising money for Shout after using the service herself when she suffered mental health challenges in 2021.
During the visit, Prince William’s wife viewed a live demonstration of how the platform is used before joining a small group of Shout Volunteers to hear about their experiences of helping those in distress.
The Duchess spoke with three volunteers who shared their experiences of helping those who are anxious, stressed, depressed, suicidal or overwhelmed and who need immediate support. They also told Kate how their roles have had a positive impact on their lives beyond volunteering.
She heard from Selena who has been a Shout Volunteer since 2019; Selena told the royal visitor that while her GP was a great support for her mental health, she realised that many others would be facing struggles alone.
The Duchess also spoke to Alexis, who became a volunteer at the start of the pandemic. He told Catherine how his new book, Queer Up, was inspired by his night shifts for Shout, where he spoke to young people facing many of the same questions and challenges he did, growing up as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
The Duchess of Cambridge finally spoke to Angus, another of Shout’s very first volunteers, who has provided more than 1,000 hours of support to people in distress. Having faced his own mental health challenges, Angus became a Shout Volunteer to ensure that others would have someone to talk too.
Speaking about the visit from HRH, Victoria Hornby OBE, Chief Executive of Shout, said: “We would like to thank The Duchess of Cambridge for helping us to celebrate the commitment of our outstanding volunteers, fundraisers and clinicians who have made it possible for us to provide one million hours of mental health support to people in immediate distress.
“The support of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Royal Foundation has helped hundreds of thousands of people to get the help they need.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been a passionate supporter of the charity, Shout. In 2020, The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has granted nearly £1.8 million to help support those working on the front line, and mental health in response to COVID-19.
During 2020’s Volunteers’ Week with a video call, the couple spoke to volunteers across the country to thank them for their efforts. Prince William also revealed he trained as a Shout text-line volunteer.
Those in the UK can text ‘Shout’ to 85258 to if they would like support from the organisation.