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The Duchess of Cambridge helps us celebrate 1 million conversations

Shout has taken 1 million conversations with 400,000 children, young people and adults across the UK who are struggling to cope. Conversation numbers increased by 140% during the Covid-19 pandemic and are continuing to rise, so we are looking for more people to join our community of volunteers to help us take our next million conversations.

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Earlier today, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge helped us thank some of our incredible Shout Volunteers, fundraisers, staff and trustees for their invaluable efforts in helping us provide one million hours of support to people in immediate distress.

Shout Volunteers are often the first person our texters have ever spoken to about how they are feeling, and they work to take someone in distress to a calmer place.

The Duchess spoke with three of our dedicated volunteers who shared their experiences of helping those who are anxious, stressed, depressed, suicidal or overwhelmed and who need immediate support. They also told The Duchess how their roles have had a positive impact on their lives beyond volunteering.

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Selena (left) has been a Shout Volunteer since 2019, when The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched the service and put out a call for volunteers. Selena told The Duchess that while her GP was a great support for her mental health, she realised that many others would be facing struggles alone. So Selena became a Shout Volunteer to “give back and help others who are in a similar place know that help is out there and there’s a light in the darkness.”

The Duchess also spoke to Alexis (centre), who became a Shout Volunteer at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and has since taken more than 250 conversations with people struggling to cope. Alexis told The Duchess how his new book, Queer Up (Walker Books), 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. Around 1 in 3 of our texters identify as LGB+.

Finally, The Duchess met Angus (right), one 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, particularly young people like his daughters, would have someone to talk to. Angus is now pursuing a career in mental health support by training to become a qualified counsellor.

Chief Executive, Victoria Hornby OBE, said:

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“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 Covid-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on the mental health of the nation and demand for support has surged. To ensure we can continue to be there for everyone who needs us, 24/7, we are asking members of the public to join our pioneering community of volunteers today. You could help save a life.”

Find out more about volunteering for Shout.

We would like to thank The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their incredible support and for helping more people in distress get the help they need from Shout 💙

The Duchess met Leo and Cassie whose incredible fundraising efforts have helped us continue to provide free 24/7 support.

Leo completed the extraordinary challenge of sleeping outside in his hammock for the whole of 2021, raising £8,000, and is taking on a new cycle challenge to Scotland in the autumn.

Cassie took part in a fundraising challenge last summer as a way to give back after texting Shout when she was in crisis.

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The Duchess spoke with Mark Ungless, Director of Data Insights, and Dr Jean O’Hara, Trustee, about how data from our first million conversations can help us better understand the scale of the nation’s mental health needs and experiences.

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The Duchess was also given a live demonstration of the Shout platform from Clinical Supervisor, Nisha Lar-Warburton, who supports Shout Volunteers around the clock to help texters when they come to us with suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, loneliness, and more.

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Thank you 💙

Thank you to each and every one of our dedicated Shout Volunteers for your invaluable efforts in helping us provide one million hours of support to people struggling to cope.