Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle have launched a new project that seeks to help individuals suffering from mental health issues. The project is called Shout, and it is partnered with the Crisis Text Line. The text line offers free, confidential mental health support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, People reported Friday.
On Thursday, Prince William posted a video to Instagram, one encouraging those in the U.K. to volunteer for the organization.
The U.S.-based Crisis Text Line has reportedly processed 100 million messages since its inception in 2013. CEO and founder Nancy Lublin told People that the launch was significant because the royal couples were amongst the first celebrities around the world to tackle the issue of mental health.
“It’s been so personal and they’ve done such a fantastic job elevating the issue and reducing stigma.”
Lublin said that she first spoke to “charming” Prince William in November of 2016 about the project.
“They’ve visited our offices multiple times in the U.K., they’ve met with volunteers — which is so special,” Lublin said, adding that the royals have been “very hands-on.”
She added that the royal family’s willingness to get involved was “powerful.”
“We really couldn’t ask for better spokespeople and champions. Mental health is the epidemic of this generation.”
In a statement, the royal couples said they were excited to be part of the project, People reported.
“Over the last few months Shout has started working quietly behind the scenes. We have all been able to see the service working up close and are so excited for its future,” the statement said.
William, Kate, Harry and Meghan launch mental health text line Shout— Elephant In The Room Disability Services (@hullelephant) May 10, 2019
"The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have teamed up to launch a text messaging service for people experiencing a mental health crisis."https://t.co/BDrf2vWxv8#mentalhealth pic.twitter.com/mpW9BWh7DI
The BBC reported that the royal couples used almost $4 million dollars from their Royal Foundation to help get the project off the ground.
The organization ran a year-long pilot in 2018, during which time 60,000 conversations took place. Research showed that 85 percent of the texts received were sent by people 25 years old or younger.
This is not the first charitable project that the royal couples have taken on. The BBC reported that in 2016, the royals launched their Heads Together campaign. The campaign forms partnerships with charities that provide mental health support to those who need it, while also raising awareness for mental health issues. The project also aims to tackle the stigma associated with mental health struggles.
The Royal Foundation‘s website said that fear and judgment often stop people from seeking help, and that they hoped to change the conversation surrounding the stigma common to conversations about mental health.