Grapevine Stories

Beating depression and preventing suicide with The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust

Grapevine has chosen to support the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust as we feel it is so vitally important to give people the tools to beat depression which can very sadly all too often lead to suicide. I am sure we all know a handful of people who gone down this dark road.

Give young people the tools to take care of their mental health.

Sadly, today suicide is the number one cause of death of people under 35 in the UK. 

In 1997 one young man, Charlie Waller, took his own life after suffering from depression. He was 28 and, for whatever reason, had not felt able to talk to anyone about his struggles. 

To the outside world Charlie had everything to live for, a successful career, good friends and a loving family, but he was suffering from depression and no longer had the strength to cope with life. 

Charlie’s friends and family were, obviously, devastated. What do you do in the face of such unimaginable tragedy? 

The Wallers chose to set up the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, to help others avoid going through what they had experienced. They have worked tirelessly ever since to help people, especially the young, identify the signs of mental health problems in themselves and others, and to take action that will help, including talking about how they feel. 

Today, CWMT reaches thousands of children and young people through its work in schools, offering free training to teachers, pupils and parents. It also offers a free mental health book club and a wide range of resources, posters, leaflets and booklets, for staff, students, parents and carers, including ‘A parent’s guide to depression’ and a Wellbeing Action Plan, designed to help young people keep themselves mentally well. 

CWMT also works with colleges and universities, employers and managers, GPs and nurses; its plans for the coming year include more work for parents of children with mental health problems, and for young people going through the transition of moving from school into college or university, which can be a time of vulnerability.

Every suicide is like a rock thrown in water. Its sorrowful effects ripple far and wide, touching hundreds of lives. When Charlie died, the love of his family ensured that in the wake of the sorrow there followed hope. 

Although depression and other mental health problems are a reality for many young people, they can be treated and things can get better. Learning how to recognise and talk about them is the first step.

Some figures

One person in fifteen had made a suicide attempt at some point in their life.

It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem

20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year.

50% of mental health problems are established by age 14 and 75% by age 24.

Our approach

At the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust we take a very practical approach to helping people stay mentally well. We provide evidence-based training and resources, and we encourage people, especially the young, to talk about depression and other mental health problems. 

The sooner someone can be helped, the better, so early intervention is key to our approach. We have four main programmes of work: 

Schools and families 

Our trainers build relationships with schools, helping staff, pupils and parents learn how to look after their mental wellbeing. 

Colleges and Universities 

We work in partnership with universities and FE colleges, helping them identify what they do well in relation to student mental health and how they can improve. 


Breaking the stigma of mental health in the workplace is extremely important to us. We offer training to senior leaders, line managers, HR staff and employees. 

Primary care 

GPs and practice nurses are in a prime position to support people with mental health issues. Our training is practical, targeted and tailored to general practice. 

Our trainers

Our trainers deliver our programmes across the UK. They have backgrounds in education, health, research and youth work; many of them have lived experience of mental health problems. We have experts in depression, suicide prevention, eating disorders, anxiety, self-harm and other fields. Their experience and knowledge enables them to offer tailored training in mental health issues, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach. 

Our supporters 

We couldn’t operate without the hundreds of people who give their time, money, energy and skills. Many of our supporters and volunteers have been with us since the Trust began 21 years ago, others have joined us just this year. 

Our impact 

We are a small charity and have to think constantly about how we can deploy our modest resources intelligently and efficiently. We rely on the generosity of individuals, companies and grant-giving trusts, and we work hard to use every pound to maximum effect.

The CWMT Mental Health Book Club reaches thousands of teachers and children.

“Thank you so much for this book. It arrived yesterday and couldn’t have been more timely. I have a year 6 girl suffering with acute anxiety, really struggling to be in school. We have just read it together and really identified with it. I know we have a long way to go but this book is perfect.”

The CWMT Wellbeing Challenge encourages children to look after their mental health using the ‘Five steps to wellbeing’: Keep learning, be mindful, connect, be active and, give to others.

 Mental health training for GPs – CWMT offers practical, evidence-based training that GPs can put into practice immediately.

Leading expert Prof Hamish McAllister-Williams offers practical, clinical advice for GPs on prescribing antidepressants and how to optimise the use of antidepressants in primary care.

Grapevine is a trusted network of private members, linking kindred spirits from town or country. Members promote, sell or buy goods and services within the network.

Grapevine also believes in supporting young people to get a strong start through internships and work placements. We also help a number of charities including Heads Together and The Injured Jockeys Fund.