Meghan Markle, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton, and Prince William have teamed up for the first time to launch an important project: Shout, a 24/7 text messaging helpline for anyone struggling with their mental health.

The four have backed the initiative with a £3 million grant from their Royal Foundation, after making private visits to the volunteers behind Shout.

At the launch event at Kensington Palace, William said: ‘With the biggest investment by the Royal Foundation to date we are today able to formally launch Shout – a new UK-wide service that connects vulnerable people in a state of crisis to trained volunteers who are there to help.

‘The service is free to use, anonymous, and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

‘The conversations are run by volunteers who have completed 25 hours of online training, and are monitored by an exceptional clinical team. Over the course of the last year 1,000 volunteers have signed up, and 60,000 conversations have taken place.

‘That is 60,000 moments when people who were feeling scared, frightened and alone were able to use their phone to connect with someone who could support them.’

The idea behind Shout is powerful.

We know that when we’re feeling our lowest, we’re supposed to reach out and ask for help, whether that’s getting in touch with a friend or ringing the Samaritans. But sometimes even that feels impossible – we don’t want to make our friends feel burdened, and opening up on a phone call feels like too much to bear.

A texting service makes asking for help that touch easier.

Shout is the UK’s first free 24/7 text service for anyone in crisis anytime, anywhere. It’s a place to go if you’re struggling to cope and you need immediate help.

It’s based on the Crisis Text Line in the US, but is the first time this tech has come to the UK.

The royals gave their grant to establish the charity Mental Health Innovations, which runs Shout.

Alongside the launch, they appealed for more volunteers to join the service following the end of its 12 month trial scheme.

The Duchess of Cambridge said: ‘For the last few years, I’ve been focusing much of my work on the importance of prevention in the earliest years of life to help avoid problems in later life.

‘But, sadly, for so many, they have already reached a crisis situation. This is why Shout is so important. It is able to offer support when it is crucially needed, and the opportunity to turn lives around.’

If you’re in need of support from Shout, simply text ‘shout’ to 85258.

If you’d like to volunteer for the service, you can apply through Shout’s website.

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