Accessibility navigation

Mental Health Awareness Week - Charlie Waller fundraising campaign

Charlie Waller Family

'Much more can be done to help young people. You can help us do it.' Professor Shirley Reynolds, Director of the Charlie Waller Institute

At the start of Mental Health Awareness week the University of Reading's fundraising team is launching the Charlie Waller Fundraising Appeal. This campaign will raise money to further test and develop a pioneering new treatment, Brief Behavioural Action, which could transform the lives of thousands of young people with depression. We also want to raise awareness of Mental Health across the University and wider community.

Depression will affect around 15% of young people before they are 18 years old. It interferes with school, family, friendship groups and social events and is associated with self-harm and suicide.  Most teenagers with depression are not properly identified and do not receive effective treatment.  

Brief Behavioural Action

Until now, there has been very little research into depression and teenagers and what techniques can help either in the UK or globally. Professor Shirley Reynolds and her team of researchers at the Charlie Waller Institute here at the University of Reading have developed a pioneering treatment, Brief Behavioural Action (BBA), which aims to give teenagers the tools to improve their mental health by making small but powerful changes in their behaviour. Clinicians are specially trained to work with teenagers and the issues they may be facing. BBA helps them focus on the simple changes that can turn around a downward spiral and break the vicious cycle of depression.

The Charlie Waller Institute has recently completed a brief pilot study of BBA. After eight weeks of treatment, 70% of the patients showed significantly reduced symptoms. This compares to 50% improvement in symptoms within 12 weeks for other psychological and medical treatments. Brief Behavioural Activation for depression has great potential to help many young people - but now we need to test it properly, and for this, the Charlie Waller Institute needs to raise funds.

How gifts will be used

The University's fundraising department, the Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Office, is seeking donations from a range of alumni and other supporters. Gifts will be used to:

  • Run classroom testing sessions to help identify teenagers who have problems with low mood
  • Follow up teenagers who have mood problems to assess them fully for depression 
  • Offer Brief Behavioural Activation to suitable young people at their school
  • Provide support for teachers and parents to support young people with low mood and depression
  • Train teachers to support teenagers to use Brief Behavioural Activation 

Professor Shirley Reynolds commented, "I came to work at the Charlie Waller Institute to Research and develop effective treatments. Here we have an onsite NHS clinic and team of researchers working alongside clinicians. It's a unique environment in which we are developing a new treatment specifically for teenagers with depression. Our initial studies are extremely encouraging not only are we treating people right now, but we can eventually help prevent more families from suffering. Much more can be done to help young people. You can help us do it."

How to donate

If you would like to make a donation to support young people go to:

For more information about the fundraising campaign go to:

If you would like to discuss this further with the Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Office please email or call Edd Pickering on 0118 378 5238.

Further information

More about Charlie Waller Institute

More about Charlie Waller Memorial Trust

More about Mental Health Awareness Week




Page navigation

Search Form

Main navigation