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William’s Shout service offers mental health help to emergency services workers

The announcement came ahead of the Duke of Cambridge’s visit to the Fire Fighters Charity’s centre in South Devon.

The Duke of Cambridge is to visit the Fire Fighters Charity’s centre in Chudleigh, South Devon (Chris Jackson/PA)
The Duke of Cambridge is to visit the Fire Fighters Charity’s centre in Chudleigh, South Devon (Chris Jackson/PA)

By Tony Jones, PA Court Correspondent

The Duke of Cambridge’s Shout text messaging helpline has announced it will provide support to frontline emergency responders.

The news came ahead of William’s visit to the Fire Fighters Charity’s centre at Harcombe House in Chudleigh, South Devon, where he will meet members of the emergency services community alongside Shout volunteers.

Shout was launched by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Duke and Duchess of Sussex in May, and provides a confidential 24/7 text service which connects people experiencing problems – from suicidal thoughts and relationship issues to bullying – with trained volunteers who can provide help.

Now members of the emergency services community, retired or serving, and their families can text BLUELIGHT to 85258 and be connected to a trained and supervised volunteer.

Supporting the mental health and well-being of the fire and rescue services community is central to our ambitions as a charity Dr Jill Tolfrey, Fire Fighters Charity

Dr Jill Tolfrey, chief executive of the Fire Fighters Charity, said: “Supporting the mental health and well-being of the fire and rescue services community is central to our ambitions as a charity.

“So we are delighted to support an initiative that complements our own work and shares our desire to make mental health support available and accessible to as many people in need as possible.”

The initiative aims to provide an additional layer of support to the help already provided by emergency services charities and organisations backing the project, who range from the National Crime Agency and London Fire Brigade to the Ambulance Staff Charity, Police Care UK and the Fire Fighters Charity.

Chief Constable Andy Rhodes, service director for the National Police Wellbeing Service, said: “We know that there is still a lot of stigma attached to seeking help and that many officers and staff don’t feel comfortable seeking help from their own force.

“Having this helpline as another option for them to get help if they need it in a time of crisis is vital and very much welcomed.”

PA

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