A Londoner, who runs his own mental health organisation despite suffering from depression and anxiety since primary school, has been recognised with a national honour.
Charles Claydon has been selected to receive a British Citizen Award for his services to volunteering and charitable giving.
The awards, in partnership with InMoment, were launched in January 2015 to recognise “everyday people” who work tirelessly and selflessly to make a positive impact on society.
In 2013 Charles became a Samaritan volunteer in East London as he wanted to do more to help others struggling with mental health, which he felt he could do by sharing his own experiences.
Then in 2014 the 28-year-old launched My Mental Health - where he shared his own battle to show others they were not alone and to break down the stigma and barriers of mental health.
Speaking about his nomination, Charles said: “I didn’t know I had been nominated for an award, and was absolutely amazed when I found out.
“I don’t feel I deserve an award, as I love the work I do helping other people, it’s my passion. But it feels great to have been formally recognised, as it is a way of showing my work is having a positive impact and helping others.”
Charles’ hard work has also been recognised by Stephen Fry, who struggles with his own mental health and is president of the mental health charity Mind, when he tweeted about the website to his 11.4million followers.
His work is now being supported by Mind, as it has been filling the the gaps in areas that are not funded.
Alongside all of this he is part of a committee offering mental health support to colleagues within his day job for the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Charles recently launched a ‘care box’ through his website for those that could do with something to make them feel better.
There are also plans to launch a monthly meeting for those in need of peer to peer support all across the country, starting with the financial district in London, where he sees a huge amount of stress, lack of support and understanding and unnecessary struggle.
Charles, who was nominated for the BCA by his friend David Harper, is one of 33 medallists who will be honoured at a ceremony on Thursday, January 28, at the Palace of Westminster.
Mr Harper said: “When I read online about the British Citizen Awards it stood out to me straight away that I wanted to nominate Charles for all of his hard work.
“Charles has been through some really challenging times, which I have witnessed, and it has made him a very strong person. He is now so friendly, and will always help others as much as he possibly can. I am very pleased that he has been formally recognised, as he really deserves it.”