Alumni and supporters

Tackling Teenage Depression

ONE in FOUR young people suffer from a mental health issue.

Mental health issues affect our young people on a huge scale. For instance, we know that in every classroom there will be three children who are suffering from a mental health issue.

What is depression?

Depression can impact how people think, feel and behave. Symptoms of depression can vary, but it is not uncommon for people to become snappy or irritable, lose their appetite, lack of energy, trouble sleeping or become self-critical. It can affect people in very different ways, but can be very debilitating and difficult to cope with.

To the right is the vicious cycle of depression which people can become stuck in. They feel low, so they do less. Losing out on the 'feel good factor' you get from activities often leaves you in this cycle.

What is the Charlie Waller Institute?

The Institute was partly established by Charlie Waller's parents. Charlie took his own life after suffering from depression. His parents want to help other teenagers and their families and now support the development of new treatments. The Charlie Waller Institute is a collaborative initiative between the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, Reading University and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust.

The Institute train clinicians in evidence-based psychological treatments and undertake research to add to the evidence-base for effective psychological treatments. The institute and all its staff are committed to training its therapists to the highest level and only in therapies that have demonstrable value.

What is Brief Behavioural Activation?

Brief Behavioural Activation is an intervention that is used to treat depression. This treatment encourages teenagers to make small but powerful changes to their behaviour, in order to break the vicious cycle of depression. The idea is that by doing more, people can feel better.

Not only looking at the 'more' aspect, teenagers are also encouraged to think about what sorts of activities are important to them. This is in order to achieve a 'healthy balance'.

When going through treatment, the young person will be encouraged to think about their past/current activities and which category (see the checklist) that these fall into. The therapist will encourage the teenager to schedule a balance of activities during the coming week.The therapist will encourage them to record their activities. This is really important, as the therapist will use the records during each session to monitor progress and trouble-shoot any issues.

Why is your support is vital?


It’s vital that we can help identify teenagers at risk and effectively treat them before a tragedy strikes. Depression is a killer, but it doesn’t have to be. The Charlie Waller Institute is researching and developing the pioneering treatment Brief Behavioural Activation, for teenagers with depression. Brief Behavioural Activation encourages teenagers to make small but powerful changes in their behaviour. The early research findings have been excellent and exciting – we are confident that this could be a more effective treatment than those currently available for thousands of young people suffering with depression across the country.

give nowWe need your help in order to give teenagers the chance to lead fulfilling, active and purposeful lives.