Press Releases

Mental health conference in Reading addresses the biggest killer of young men – University of Reading

Release Date : 03 March 2009

Since the start of the war in Iraq 170 young British men have been killed in combat. In that time, 6,729 young men aged 15-34 have killed themselves in Britain₂.

At a time when suicide is one of the biggest killers of young men in this country, a major one-day conference hosted by the University of Reading's Charlie Waller Institute, examined the science, stigma and solutions associated with men's mental health.

Held on 3 March in Reading, the conference, which is supported by Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, provided the latest research on men's mental health and examined the stigma associated with seeking help. It also looked at ways to help break the silence that surrounds the issue.

Keynote speakers included major figures working in the area of men's mental health, including Louis Appleby, National Director for Mental Health in England, Michael Addis, Professor of Psychology at Clark University in the USA, Keith Hawton, Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Centre for Suicide Research at the University of Oxford and Graham Thornicroft, Professor of Community Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.

Professor Roz Shafran, Co-director of the Charlie Waller Institute of Evidence-Based Psychological Treatment, said: "The scale of the problem of suicide both locally and globally is shocking. Suicides in men outnumber those in women by 4:1; every single minute there are two more deaths by suicide. Why the rate of suicide is so high is a difficult question to answer, but the majority of those who commit suicide suffer from symptoms of depression. There are reasonably good treatments for depression but there is still a stigma associated with having mental health problems and seeking help, particularly for men.

"Our conference is aimed at professionals working in the area of mental health, men who suffer with mental health problems and carers. We will be sharing the latest research and hearing from those affected and those working with suicidal young men."

The Charlie Waller Institute at the University of Reading trains therapists to provide the sort of treatment that has been shown to work in scientific trials. The Institute runs regular workshops to train therapists to effectively treat a wide range of mental health problems.

All proceeds from the conference go to the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust₁ –


Further information from Alex Brannen, Media Relations Manager, on 0118 378 7388

Notes to editors:

₁The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, founded in memory of a young man who killed himself suffering from depression, is dedicated to trying to reduce the stigma associated with mental health difficulties so that people get the help they need. This includes funding Waller Mental Health Trainers based in Berkshire and across the country to go into schools and provide education to GPs.

₂Statistics from Calmzone – CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) is targeted at young men aged between 15-35. The campaign offers help, information and advice via a phone and web service. Anyone, regardless of age, gender or geographic location can call the line. Working with people from the music, sport and club scenes, c.a.l.m. encourages young men to 'open up' and sort out their problems. c.a.l.m. has a strong and very real presence through club flyers, posters, beermats, gigs and in the media.

170 is latest statistic of men killed in Iraq as of 12th December 2008, according to the Ministry of Defence.


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