Friday, 5 March 2021

The Cambridges Speak to Family Supported by Shout

Earlier this week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge participated in a virtual call from Sandringham with a family who have been supported by Shout 85258 mental health support service.

Like so many children and indeed people of all ages, twelve-year-old Jack began experiencing severe anxiety during the pandemic. It had progressed to the point where he considered ending his own life. One evening, Jack decided to text Shout. His parents were unaware of this and only learned of it when a police officer contacted them to let them know their son was safe. In the video below, names and voices have been changed to protect anonymity.

More from Shout:

'During their private conversation, The Duke and Duchess talked to both Jack and his parents, who described how the experience had been for the family. They talked about the close and loving relationships they have with all of their children, their ability to talk and listen as a family about difficult things, and their busy and fun household. Yet despite this, they hadn’t realised the extent of the great distress their son Jack had found himself in during lockdown.

The Duke and Duchess heard how they had noticed that their once open, gregarious, fun loving and inquisitive son had become more introverted during the Covid-19 lockdown of spring and summer 2020. Jack spent increasing amounts of time on his own, no longer connecting with his friends online or on the phone, and struggling with online school. Jack became increasingly anxious about the future, and whether life would ever get back to some sort of normality. His father described how there was no trigger point for Jack’s anxiety which made it harder to understand how bad things had become.

The Duke and Duchess heard how, when Jack returned to school in Autumn 2020, his anxiety escalated. What Jack’s family didn’t know was that it had reached a dangerous level where the only solution he could see was to end his life. Jack’s parents explained how he had reached out to Shout in a pivotal moment, and, during a text conversation, a volunteer had been able to prevent Jack from ending his life.'

Jack told the couple that having the conversation via text rather than over the phone helped him to open up. He also spoke of the importance of educating children about mental health and reaching out in times of difficulty. The couple praised him for his "incredible bravery".

Shout shared some information on the worrying statistics they are seeing at present. "35% of our texters are under the age of 18, which might not seem surprising. But what often startles people is that 7% of the people we have conversations with are children under the age of 13, like Jack. In fact we’ve had around 45,000 conversations with children in this age bracket since we launched the Shout service, and supported the mental health of around 18,000 children. The issues raised by children in their conversations range from bullying (9% of conversations), through self-harm (24% of conversations), anxiety (28% of conversations) and suicide (31% of conversations)."

Kensington Palace notes, "Shout operates 24/7 and connects people in need to trained volunteers who provide help at a time when it is most needed; enabling them to move from a moment of crisis to a calm state and form a plan for next steps to find longer-term support. 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 at any time – at school, at home, on the bus, anywhere. This service is for everyone, but for younger people especially, texting is a trusted and familiar form of communication, and using text rather than apps makes it simple and accessible for everyone with a phone." The service was launched by the Cambridges and the Sussexes in 2018.

The Duchess wore her Equipment Slim Signature Polka-Dot Shirt.

The £270 piece is described as, "Cut from lightweight washed-silk, it has a slightly loose fit and curved hem that looks especially cool styled half-tucked." It's available in sizes XXS - XXL at Equipment and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Kate accessorised with her £5 Accessorize Twisted Circle Drop earrings.

On Sunday at 5 pm, BBC One will air a special programme entitled A Celebration for Commonwealth Day in lieu of the annual service at Westminster Abbey. Buckingham Palace revealed, "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have spoken to medical, charity and voluntary staff from across the Commonwealth to hear more about the work they have been carrying out to care for those within their communities. Throughout their conversations, the Duke and Duchess heard from those on the calls about what inspired them to support their communities, the impact of the vital work they are carrying out, and how they have adapted their efforts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic." The clips will certainly by uploaded by the royal social media accounts, so those outside the UK will be able to view. 

We're also sending warm wishes to Prince Philip who underwent a successful procedure at St Bartholomew's Hospital earlier this week and has now returned to King Edward VII hospital. Whilst he is expected to remain in hospital for several more days, it is very good news.


  1. Thank you for sharing. William and Kate appear to have handled an extremely vulnerable conversation really well while also highlighting the organization that is providing help. These type of resources are so valuable.

  2. MizBev in Colorado5 March 2021 at 20:48

    I think they handled this topic very well...and looked good doing it. I do not know how Kate does it but a discussion like that would have me blubbering.

  3. This seems to be a great organization. To save one life is a satisfaction to save many is a great accomplishment. I am glad this boy in question is doing hopefully fine. William and Kate are doing a good job, highlighting this organization. People who need help should get it, I also hope they ask. There is nothing more valuable then life.

  4. They have done a wonderful job here- it highlights an incredible resource and also let’s people know they aren’t alone in needing it.
    Well done to these two!

    NY, USA

  5. It was difficult to hear this story and not well up ! As a parent to hear the despair your child was feeling, is unimaginable ! Thankfully Jack had the courage to contact 'Shout' !
    William and Catherine handled the conversation well !
    It seems a little fickle to discuss the fashion aspect on such a harrowing story, but I will say, Kate looks wonderful. Looking forward to hearing them during the Commonwealth Day celebration.
    Like you dear Charlotte, sending warmest wishes to Prince Philip and wishing him a speedy recovery ! Bel

  6. Superficial comment: Looks like William is wearing the same shirt and sweater in both engagements. Either he needs to add some variety to his wardrobe or they’ve got a scheme to keep their appearances consistent!

    1. ILoveElephants7 March 2021 at 01:51

      Lol I noticed that too, I wonder if it’s a coincidence or on purpose.

  7. Zora from Prague6 March 2021 at 16:48

    Well done, William and Kate!
    The support service is so important, especially now that the lockdown(s) strain is starting to take its toll on people's mental health.
    Looking forward to the videos from the Commonwealth Day celebrations!
    Off-topic: Yesterday I watched a documentary about Princess Anne and her daughter Zara - I really enjoyed it. And I'm happy for Zara's third pregnancy!
    I do hope we'll be getting more good news about Prince Philip's condition.
    Thank you, Charlotte!

  8. Kate and William- a credit to the UK.

  9. As a mother, it's terrifying to think of your child in a crisis situation. I think Catherine and William are doing really well, laying the groundwork for their three beautiful children to be well adjusted and have as normal lives as possible. Another reason I admire them so much!

  10. I'm glad that the Shout helpline is fulfilling its purpose and helping people. It is a great idea to 'close the loop' and show us what happens after they launch a new initiative. On a frivolous note, I love anything with polka dots!


  11. Charlotte, I wanted to thank you for your coverage on both blogs. I love to follow both Kate and Meghan. I can tell you’re maybe a bit disenchanted with the royal family at the moment, but the Duchess Kate blog is where I found your writing. I’m a bit attached to it, so I do hope you continue to cover Kate’s engagements. I find her drama free and a breath of fresh air!
    This engagement made me tear up. I think William and Kate do a wonderful job in their conversations. They come across as very warm and engaging.


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