Born in Cambridge and living in the village of Meldreth, Edward Mallen was an academically and musically gifted 18 year old who took his own life in a rail tragedy in February 2015 following the unexplained, rapid and catastrophic onset of depressive illness. Leader of the School Council, Edward was also Head Boy at both his primary and secondary schools and a talented classical pianist who now has the heartbreaking legacy of having played all of the music at his own funeral.
Edward had recently been offered a place at Cambridge University following 12 A*s at GCSE and 100% scores at AS level. A popular and friendly young man, several hundred people attended his funeral. Edward enjoyed travelling, played cricket for the local team, delivered the newspapers in his village and worked at weekends in Heffers bookshop in Cambridge. His school Yearbook records that he was voted most likely to go on and become Prime Minister by his peers. Deeply rooted in his community, Edward was from a stable and loving home and a close-knit family. With no history of trauma or difficulty, Edward fell into psychotic despair for no apparent reason just weeks before he died. Cast aside by the NHS for not exhibiting established risk factors, Edward fell rapidly and inexorably into chronic neurological dysfunction.
Edward's death has had a seismic impact upon his community. His case has attracted substantial political and media interest. On the day of his funeral The Times Lead (Youth Betrayed, 20/2/15), highlighted the urgent need for training and investment in teenage mental wellbeing. To quote:
"Successive governments have let Britain's children down by failing to take seriously the scourge of teenage mental illness. The cost of this failure is incalculable […] If politicians of all parties heed Mr Mallen's plea to take this seriously at last, thousands will be spared his grief."
As a promise to Edward at his funeral, his family have researched the mental health sector in great detail, drawing upon a remarkable network of local, national and international experts who have kindly offered their support and knowledge. This has led to the creation of The MindEd Trust which is a specific vehicle and carefully defined operating model dedicated to psychosis prevention in young people.
The MindEd Trust is a focused conduit for the transfer of funds and leading-edge expertise into the education system for the benefit of all young people. The Trust has no overheads, no employees and will not provide any direct services. Every pound raised will pass seamlessly and undiminished into carefully researched and pre-qualified mindEducation and awareness programmes.
The Trust has two support Councils. The Advisory Council comprises leading academics from around the world, including Cambridge University, UK health professionals, education experts and senior charity executives. The Community Council comprises politicians, healthcare workers, parents, teachers and young people.
The objective of the Trust is simple: give the NHS less to do by preventing young people falling into crisis. This will be achieved by adding mental health to the school curriculum to improve resilience, destroy stigma and strengthen care systems. The Advisory and Community Councils will both assist in the construction of viable programmes, drawing upon world-class expertise and committed local knowledge, and refine and approve those programmes to ensure evidence-based accreditation and maximum benefit. Importantly, all programmes and actions will be measured and monitored in order to capture much-needed and valuable data.