Christmas can be a particularly hard time for people coping with mental health challenges, so it is an important time to continue to raise awareness. Here, Harry Watkins explains how his twin brother’s legacy has helped young people’s mental health and will continue to do so in 2023.
When my brother Charlie sadly took his own life aged just 22, it turned our world upside down. He was the light of our all our lives, but then suddenly he was gone.
When a loved one takes their own life, it leaves a giant void behind. And sadly, it is a feeling far too many families continue to experience.
The grief can feel more intense throughout the festive season because people are expected to be spreading festive joy. However, in reality we miss loved ones more as they are not by our side to celebrate.
While Charlie is no longer here with us, the legacy he left behind is huge.
His kindness, bubbly personality and beaming smile are all entwined in the vital work the Charlie Watkins Foundation has set out to achieve. Through the foundation, we have funded incredible initiatives which all share a common goal – to support young people’s mental health.
Ensuring young people have the right tools to deal with mental health challenges they face is paramount for their wellbeing. My first experience of mental health was when Charlie had depression – and I wish I had knowledge of it before.
In 2020, 147 young people in England aged 15 – 19 took their own lives. In 2021, this number rose to 198. While awareness of mental health appears to be improving, there is still a lot more work to be done.
Teaching young people early and ensuring they have the right support for their mental health is vital. Therefore, as part of our work in 2022, the Charlie Watkins Foundation has funded projects for the Youth Enquiry Service (YES), Student Minds and the Charlie Waller Trust (CWT).
We are always looking for new ways to help improve young people’s mental health, and we know there is still much work to do. But we can’t continue to fund these incredible initiatives throughout 2023 without your support.
All donations to the Charlie Watkins Foundation support the work of charities and initiatives whose primary focus is helping young people’s mental health. If you can, please donate.