‘I don’t intend to let my son down twice’: the bereaved father trying to end suicide

When 18-year-old Edward Mallen killed himself, his father blamed the NHS, society – and himself. He founded the Zero Suicide Alliance to try to make such deaths a thing of the past

Not long before Christmas in 2014, Steve Mallen began to worry about the eldest of his three children. Edward, who had just turned 18, was good at everything. A gifted pianist, a talented sportsman and a nurturing big brother, he had secured a place at the University of Cambridge.

Then Edward stopped playing the piano. He became withdrawn and began to eat less and lose sleep. On 22 January 2015, he went to see the family’s GP, near their home in a village outside Cambridge. He revealed that he had suicidal feelings and had begun to self-harm, something he felt too ashamed to share at home. He had no known history of mental health problems.

He felt ashamed and asked one of the clinicians to ‘tell my mum’ – and nobody even bothered to pick up the phone

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Category: Mental Health