The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today visited a helpline service run by YoungMinds to help tackle the stigma associated with calling support services and encourage those who need help to seek it. Young Minds are part of the Heads Together campaign spearheaded by The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to change the conversation on mental wellbeing from one of fear and shame to one of support.
The YoungMinds Parents helpline offers support and advice to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person up to the age of 25.
During their visit, Their Royal Highnesses met some of the people who volunteer with the helpline to find out more about their experience and what motivated them to get involved. They then got a taster of the training that people receive to become a volunteer including learning about helpline skills. This taster training session allowed them to gain a better understanding of what callers will experience if they contact the helpline.
As part of the training, the Duke and Duchess also listened in on some of the calls the helpline received during their visit and heard first-hand how volunteers handle enquiries before sitting in on a debrief session. This was an opportunity for volunteers to discuss how they handled the call and also receive feedback to develop their volunteer skills going forward.
For many people, a barrier to seeking help when they need it is the lack of awareness on who to contact, who they will be speaking to and fear of what will happen next. This visit was an opportunity to dispel some of the myths surrounding helplines by profiling the kind of people who will be at the end of the line as well as well as the types of questions and responses people can expect if they call.
On the day, thousands of young people across the UK were receiving their GCSE exam results which can be a particularly difficult time for students, as well as their parents, who are worried about the impact their results can have on their future. Whether it’s coping with the pressure of exam results or coping with a difficult time, everyone needs support from time to time. Friends and family can be a great first response for many but others simply don’t know who turn to for help. The Heads Together team of charities provide vital, expert support including through helplines staffed by volunteers who can relate to the difficult times callers are going through.