Public awareness of mental health is arguably higher than ever. After years in the wilderness, it is finally being addressed in schools, workplaces, the media and in government.
But there is still much work to do. Prince William recently told the Davos World Economic Forum that the stigma surrounding mental health resulted in many celebrities refusing to back his own Heads Together initiative.
Which makes the tireless campaigning work of the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust even more remarkable.
In September 1997, Charlie Waller took his own life after suffering from depression. At that time, mental health issues were barely acknowledged. As Charlie’s father, Sir Mark Waller, remembers: ‘The stigma was such that coroners were inclined to bring in open verdicts rather than find a young person had killed themselves.’
Charlie, 28, was a successful advertising executive from Fulham with many friends and a loving family. But he no longer had the strength to cope with life. Shortly after his death, his family founded the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust (CWMT).
Its aim is to increase awareness of the signs and dangers of depression among young people and encourage those who may be depressed to seek help. It also encourages friends, family and colleagues to pick up the symptoms in others and persuade them to get help.
Earlier this month, Piper was delighted to host a charity fundraiser in aid of CWMT. More than 120 people gathered at Monica Vinader’s Chelsea Boutique for an evening of live music, guest speakers, cocktails and canapés.
They included Charlie’s parents, Sir Mark and Lady Waller, members of the CWMT and Piper teams, along with senior figures from Piper’s partner brands and extended network.
After music from classical guitarists ‘duo’, broadcaster and CWMT patron Mary Nightingale ran a lively auction. A raffle took place throughout the evening and was later drawn with a host of fantastic prizes handed out to the winners.
The evening was a great success, raising more than £12,000 for CWMT. Thanks to all for their generous support of such an important cause.