996. Harry Watkins
Harry Watkins, from Suffolk, is changing the way students can seek mental health support with an online service dedicated to the memory of his twin brother.
Harry launched ‘Chat with Charlie’ at the University of Essex after his twin brother Charlie took his own life. The online service gives students the opportunity to start a conversation about their mental wellbeing in a completely safe and anonymous online environment. The platform lets people take a confidential first step to accessing support which is signposted by Harry’s trained volunteers. Harry, who set up the ‘Charlie Watkins Foundation’ to carry out his work, has collaborated with the University and mental health charity ‘MIND’, raising £25,000 to fund the project. Harry’s award coincides with the World Health Organisation’s Suicide Prevention Day.
In a personal letter to Harry, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“The foundation you have set up in memory of your brother Charlie is doing incredibly important work to increase awareness of mental health in young people.
“Too often the stigma that can surround conversations about mental health stops people from reaching out to get the support they need. The ‘Chat with Charlie’ service you have launched will give more young people the confidence to take that first step to getting the help they need. It is a fantastic to tribute to Charlie and you should be very proud of everything you have achieved.”
James Cartlidge, Harry’s local MP and MP for South Suffolk, said:
“I was so pleased to hear this news because it’s incredibly well deserved. As a father of twin boys I cannot imagine the grief this loss must have caused Harry and his family, and it is a testament to his character that he then used that traumatic experience to set up a charity to avoid others falling into the same situation. I look forward to meeting Harry soon to hear more about his superb effort and the fully merited top level recognition it has now earned, in the form of a Point of Light award from the Prime Minister.”
“I am extremely honoured to be receiving such an important award. I am hugely grateful for the recognition of work I have done with the ‘Charlie Watkins Foundation’. It is our aim at the ‘Charlie Watkins Foundation’ to support younger people who are suffering with mental health and to make sure nobody is suffering in silence.”
Pictured below: Harry receiving his award from James Cartlidge MP
The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.Volunteer now