January 29, 2021, at 1:51pm
In March 2017, his Uppingham friend, Charlie Watkins (SH 08), took his own life. His brother, Harry (Fgh 08), set up the CWF in his memory to support young people suffering with their mental health.
The charity's ‘Chat with Charlie’ service, in association with Mind, aims to provide a safe environment for students to speak openly about their mental health via a one to one confidential consultation with trained volunteers. They have already helped many young people and their service runs from 6pm-10pm every day.
The CWF is a very small fledgling charity and all donations will have a very direct impact. It is local, currently focused on Essex University, and they aim to expand their work to other universities around the country. It is also currently very relevant - many have reported a deterioration and/or increase in suicidal thoughts during lockdown.
Ed says: "I have struggled with my mental health over the course of the last few years. I don’t pretend this is uncommon, especially amongst young people. For me, talking to doctors/others and confronting the problem was the key turning point. It took a lot of encouragement from close friends to do so. It is so important that services like Chat with Charlie are accessible to everybody. Dealing with mental health is always a work in progress, but I firmly believe that conversation and openness should be encouraged."
Jake: "First-hand experience has shown and proven to me that having those conversations, big or small, can help to provide comfort, direction and strength. The charity we have chosen helps others begin that first but crucial step in overcoming mental health difficulties. Coincidentally, running has also been a helpful outlet for me, using it as a channel of energy, so I'm looking forward to reaching a milestone with it."
Donations via Ed’s Just Giving page will be gratefully received www.justgiving.com/fundraising/edandjake
The OU Charity Fund is always pleased to support fundraising activites, please contact the OU team if you're also raising funds for a valuable cause.