Letter from Prime Minister David Cameron to grieving father of Meldreth teen - ‘Edward’s experience is unacceptable’

Steve Mallen next to wall of cards in memory of his son

Steve Mallen next to wall of cards in memory of his son - Credit: Archant

A grieving Meldreth father has received support from the Prime Minister after he called on him to address the ‘appalling state of mental health care in his country.’

Steve Mallen with a letter

Steve Mallen with a letter - Credit: Archant

Steve Mallen, who lives in the High Street, wrote a letter to David Cameron at Downing Street asking for a clear policy on teenage mental health after his son Edward took his own life in a rail tragedy in February.

In the letter to Number 10, Steve said: “You’ll appreciate the painfully bittersweet irony that in Edward’s school yearbook records he was voted the pupil most likely to become prime minister by his classmates.

“I implore political leaders to carefully consider how they can capture the support of this vital, young section of our national community.

“Edward never got the chance to exercise his democratic right to vote – in part owing to the appalling state of mental health care.

Edward Mallen tragically died when he was hit by a train.

Edward Mallen tragically died when he was hit by a train. - Credit: Archant

“Despite formal referral with acute suicide risk, he was seen by an overloaded social worker and a nurse before being given a strip of pills and a couple of website addresses on a scrap of paper.

“Now he is dead and we are still awaiting promised follow-up telephone calls, letters and a care path.

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“He felt nobody cared and that no help was available because there was no obvious cause for his depression.

“I would tear open the sky to bring my son back. He fell straight through the cracks of a broken and totally inadequate care system. This must never happen again.”

In a personal letter back to Steve, Mr Cameron said: “As a father who has lost a son, I understand your profound sense of devastation and my thoughts are with you at this difficult time.

“Edward’s experience sounds totally unacceptable and you have my every sympathy.

“The improvement of child and adolescent mental health services is a priority for me and part of our commitment to achieving equality between mental and physical health.

“This is why we launched the Children and Young People’s Mental Health and Well Being Taskforce, to look at how we can provide more joined up and accessible services built around the needs of children, young people and their families.”

Mr Cameron also said £1.25 billion has been set aside in the budget to help young people with mental health issues.

Steve has also written to senior officials from opposition parties who have vowed to increase spending on mental health.

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s response, Steve said: “I am pleased that David Cameron has now personally and publicly recognised the importance of this issue. If a party does not have mental health in their manifesto, I would say do not vote for them.”

Steve is in the process of establishing a charitable foundation to help children and young people suffering from depression. He will meet senior executives from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust later this month to review Edward’s case and see how treatment for young people can be improved.