10 Sep Outstanding local volunteer gets recognition from Prime Minister
The Prime Minister has today, 10 September, recognised Harry Watkins, from Suffolk, for championing mental health awareness, with his award coinciding with World Suicide Prevention Day.
Harry 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.
Harry is the latest recipient of the Points of Light award, which recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others. Each day, someone, somewhere in the country is selected to receive the award to celebrate their remarkable achievements.
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
“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.”