Meldreth father making good on his promise to late son Edward
- Credit: Archant
Meldreth father Steve Mallen has said he is well on his way to making good on a public promise he made at the funeral of his 18-year-son Edward, who died from suicide six years ago last week.
Edward Mallen, a former head boy at Melbourn Village College, took his own life following the sudden and inexplicable onset of clinical depression in 2015.
Steve has spent much of the past six years investigating the mental health sector and seeking reform in his son's memory.
Steve told the Crow: “Edward’s death was a terrible tragedy. Importantly though, it was an avoidable tragedy. In trying to honour my promise to my dear lad, I have been seeking to improve mental health services, change the law and ensure that all those in crisis - especially young people - get the help they require."
Steve posted a memorial message to Edward on Twitter last week. Over the next three days nearly 4.5 million people reacted to the post and he received around 80,000 messages of support. The tweet was shared almost 10,000 times.
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“The pandemic has highlighted the crucial importance of mental health and wellbeing in the school system, in communities and in the workplace," said Steve.
"The response to my social media posting last week was phenomenal and overwhelming. However, as Edward’s loss continues to resonate in our community, it is very clear to me now that we are breaking down the stigma associated with mental illness.”
In May 2019, Steve co-founded the Zero Suicide Alliance, which devoted to mental health reform and suicide prevention. The launch in London was attended by NHS and public health leaders and mental health champions and campaigners.
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The ZSA now has a national membership base of more than 650 organisations, including 250 NHS bodies and more than 200 major employers.
Over 2,500 families impacted by suicide in the UK have also joined the alliance and their free, online suicide prevention awareness and training resource has now been completed by nearly 1.6 million people.
Steve Mallen is now a member of the government’s National Suicide Prevention Group and has testified to the Health Select Committee on several occasions.
He is also a member of the Expert Reference Group with regard to the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan, which includes provision for support after suicide services in every part of the UK by 2023 – a policy which Steve wrote and helped to guide through HM Treasury.
Locally, Steve established The MindEd Trust charity in Edward’s name in 2015. To date, the charity has provided funding and support to around 40 primary and secondary schools in North Herts and South Cambs. The charity focuses on mental health education in the school system and the creation of care pathways for those experiencing difficulty and trauma.
Steve is also a Director of Royston-based Nessie in Education, a community interest company. Nessie provides support and counselling services to young people throughout Hertfordshire. He is also now a governor at Cambridgeshire & Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
He said: “My objectives have always been simultaneously both local and national. At a national level, we have changed legislation, written new policies and promoted political consensus.
"I remain indebted to Edward’s former MP, Heidi Allen together with Jeremy Hunt, Theresa May and Matt Hancock in helping me make good on my promise to Edward.
"Locally, we are continuing to support schools and young people. Times are difficult and difficult times lie ahead and it is vital that we do all we can to protect and enhance our wellbeing.”
- If you need someone to talk to you can call Samaritans for free at any time, 24 hours a day and from any phone, on 116 123.
- For information on urgent or emergency support in Herts go to the Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust website and for Cambs see the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust site.