Chat with Charlie goes live for University of Essex students

Chat with Charlie goes live at the University of Essex. From left, Rebecca Mottram, volunteer; Sue B

Chat with Charlie goes live at the University of Essex. From left, Rebecca Mottram, volunteer; Sue Bywater-Read, co-ordinator; Angela Carter, counselling service manager; Harry Watkins; Stephanie Mills, fundraising and marketing manager; Lucinda Toms, volunteer; Danni Dawson, volunteer; Rachel Baulch, volunteer Picture: PROMINENT - Credit: PROMINENT

A new mental health support forum for students set-up in memory of a 22-year-old man from Essex has gone live.

From left, Harry and Charlie Watkins Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY HARRY WATKINS

From left, Harry and Charlie Watkins Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY HARRY WATKINS - Credit: CONTRIBUTED BY HARRY WATKINS

Trained volunteers will now be on hand through the Chat with Charlie service to help struggling students at the University of Essex in Colchester.

The project is the first to be funded by the Charlie Watkins Foundation.

The foundation was set-up by Harry Watkins in October 2017 following the suicide of his twin brother, Charlie.

Charlie, from Higham near Colchester, was just 22 when he took his own life in March last year while he was a student at the University of York.

“It’s been brilliant to see our first project come to life.” Harry said. “We wanted this to be a legacy to Charlie, to ensure students have a safe space to discuss their mental health.


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“We’re really excited to add Chat with Charlie to the support services that the University of Essex already has in place.”

The foundation aims to raise the awareness of mental health in young people, especially men, and it has secured more than £12,800 in donations on its JustGiving page.

Chat with Charlie will be run by Mid and North East Essex Mind three evenings per week between 6pm-10pm, with plans to extend to seven days in due course.

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Stephanie Mills, the charity’s fundraising and marketing manager, said: “We hope that Chat with Charlie can be rolled out to other universities, so they too can benefit from this.

“It has been a pleasure to be a part of this project and working with the Charlie Watkins Foundation to turn something tragic into a venture that can help others like Charlie.”

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