Edward was 18. He had recently been offered a place at Cambridge University following 12 A*s at GCSE and 100% scores at AS level. He also excelled at playing the piano. He was a popular and friendly young man who now has the heartbreaking legacy of having played all of the music at his own funeral. He ended his own life in February 2015 following the unexplained, rapid and catastrophic onset of depressive illness.
He sounds so much like Saagar. His father, Steve Mallen strongly believes Edward was let down by the health services, just like Saagar was.
“Sometimes they call depression the curse of the strong. In other words the stronger, more resilient, more intelligent and more capable you are, the better you are able to conceal the difficulties you might be experiencing,” said Mr Mallen.
He has set up a The MindEd Trust with this mission statement:
“We mind what happened to Edward Mallen and we will do all we can to avert similar tragedies through the prevention and alleviation of mental ill-health amongst young people.”
Speaking to a friend in Bristol it emerged that CAMHS there now refuses to see youngsters who have attempted suicide. The charity Mind says on its website that the types of problems CAMHS is meant to help with include violent or angry behaviour, depression, eating difficulties, low self-esteem, anxiety, obsessions or compulsions, sleep problems, self-harming and the effects of abuse or traumatic events. CAMHS can also diagnose and treat serious mental health problems such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
How have we come to this? In the light of the fact that the incidence of mental health problems in the young is on the rise, does the graph below on expenditure (in billions) on mental health services offer an explanation?