The Duchess of Cambridge is meeting volunteers at the Shout mental health text service in London, Kate, 40, looks elegant in a £355 khaki green leopard print dress by US fashion designer Derek Lam. The royal is meeting clinical supervisors, volunteers and fundraisers to thank them for their efforts. She also spoke to Leo Street, 13, who raised £8,000 for Shout by sleeping outside on a hammock for a year.

 

 

The Duchess of Cambridge looked elegant in a leopard print dress as she visited the Shout mental health text service in London today. Kate, 40, donned a £355 khaki green dress from US designer Derek Lam to meet the clinical supervisors, volunteers and fundraisers at the organisation’s Notting Hill office. She also met 13-year-old Leo Street, a Scout from Bromley, south east London, who raised £8,000 for Shout by sleeping outside in a hammock for the entirety of 2021.

 

 

Beaming, Kate said to the teenager: ‘There really isn’t a big enough Scout badge for that. What you achieved is really inspiring. You must have had some impressive kit to keep warm.’ Leo slept under a heavy-duty tarpaulin to shield from the extremities of the weather, withstanding temperatures as low as -5 degrees. He told the duchess his next fundraising adventure will be to cycle to Scotland during half term.

 

 

Shout, which was launched in 2019 with a founding grant from The Royal Foundation, provides round-the-clock support from clinical supervisors and over 2,500 trained volunteers to people struggling with their mental health. The service was the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s first major project with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, with the service launched following a £3 million investment from the Royal Foundation in May 2019.

 

 

The Duchess’ visit marks Shout’s milestone achievement of one million conversations with those in need.The Duchess’ dress, believed to be a new addition to her wardrobe, is made from a light crepe de chine fabric and features feminine pussy bow detailing and chic buttoned cuffs.

 

 

Showcasing her flair for pairing high-end frocks with high street accessories, Kate wore the dress with a pair of £10 gold plated hoop earrings from ASOS. She finished the look with a favourite pair of Ralph Lauren black suede high heel boots and a black belt that nipped her in at the waist. Her brunette locks were swept over her shoulders and styled in her signature bouncy curls.

 

 

The duchess was on hand to thank clinicians, volunteers and members of staff for their invaluable efforts to ensure that vital mental health support is available across the UK at any time of day or night. Mark Ungless, 49, analytics experts told her that children as young 13 and under formed 8 per cent of their texts – mostly between 10pm and midnight.

 

 

‘I told the duchess we were surprised by the number of very young people reaching out and the time too. It needs addressing,’ he said. The Duchess also heard how the service is inviting members of the public to become Shout Volunteers to meet growing demand for support.

 

 

Shout is the UK’s only 24/7 text messaging support service, offering free and confidential help for anyone who is struggling to cope. Since its launch in May 2019, Shout has taken over one million conversations with people who are anxious, stressed, depressed, suicidal or overwhelmed and who need immediate support.

 

 

The service, which was researched, developed and launched with a founding grant from The Royal Foundation as a legacy of the Heads Together campaign, provides round the clock support from clinical supervisors and over 2,500 trained volunteers to ensure no one has to face their problems alone.

 

 

Kate viewed a live demonstration of the platform before joining a small group of Shout Volunteers to hear about their experiences of helping those in distress, and how they have personally benefitted from taking part in the service, including by gaining new skills and developing a sense of purpose.

 

 

Shout has seen usage on its platform increase by 140 per cent since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and Kate heard how the service will need even more volunteers to join its ranks to ensure that it can meet this growing demand. The Duchess also met Cassie Waters who began raising money for Shout after using the service herself when she suffered mental health challenges in 2021.

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