Alexander Armstrong has said that when his friend Charlie Waller took his life aged 28 “it came like a bolt out of the blue” and that they had “missed some key signs” of depression.
Mr Armstrong told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer: “I am a patron of a mental health charity called Charlie Waller Memorial Trust Memorial Trust which was set up in 1997 in memory of a very good friend of mine Charlie Waller who took his life at the age of 28.
“In our personal story, Charlie was one of those people who you would never in a million years thought was going through any kind of thing.”
He added: “He was the life and soul of the party. One of those people that if you saw him in a room you knew it was going to be a good day.
“He was one of those fantastic people and I think it came like a bolt out of the blue to all of us when we realised actually had missed some key signs that he was actually suffering from depression and had been for a number of years.
“I think what the family then decided to do, and I think this is a lovely thing – they did not wallow in their grief – they invested all their love of Charlie into setting up this memorial trust and just stopping at nothing to try and get to the root of anxiety and depression.
“And, to educate everyone in knowing what those signs are and knowing what you can do to combat its effects.”
‘The biggest research project of its kind’
On Tuesday, the UK’s largest ever mental health study called the Genetic Links to Anxiety and Depression or the GLAD Study was launched.
Researchers are asking for 40,000 people with depression or anxiety to enrol in the study and provide DNA samples.
The study aims to investigate how DNA genes influence the development of depression and anxiety.
The GLAD study is open to anyone in England aged 16 or over who has experienced clinical anxiety and, or, depression.
He added: “If you do get the chance to take part in what will be the biggest research project of its kind, I think it will throw up some very revealing data.”
Those interested should go to the GLAD Study website to sign up.