19 May 2020 | UK
In an effort to help combat loneliness during the pandemic, the Amir Khan Foundation has pledged its support to the ‘Shout’ campaign, launched by their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The foundation’s founder and trustee – Amir Khan – was personally asked by HRH Prince William to back the mental health service, for which anyone struggling to cope can text ‘85258’ to connect with a trained volunteer.
First launched in 2019, Shout is the UK's first mental health text service, and is free to use, confidential and available 24/7. So far, more than 500,000 conversations have been had with people who have been feeling anxious, stressed, depressed, suicidal or overwhelmed.
Amir said: “I was honoured to be asked to support the campaign by HRH the Duke of Cambridge through my foundation. Mental health is so important to us all, and I look forward to working more closely with HRH and his team to ensure there is greater support around mental health issues, both here in the UK and in Pakistan.”
The service has seen a sharp increase in users who are frontline staff and keyworkers, with many finding it difficult to cope with the spreading virus and the restrictions of lockdown, which have left many feeling isolated.
A host of famous faces including Dame Kelly Holmes, Matthew Beard and Harry Styles' sister Gemma have joined Amir in raising awareness of the service, with a new social media campaign showing volunteers forming the ‘85258’ number with their fingers in films posted on Tik Tok and Instagram.
HRH Prince William has spoken about the benefits of accessing support via text message, saying: “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 anywhere and at any time.”