Mental Health Awareness Week

As the Mental Health Foundation’s Mental Health Awareness Week comes to a close, I thought of those I had the fortune to be at school with, taught by, worked with, or otherwise friends with who tragically took the decision to end their own lives.

The number is 8 – all under the age of 50.

If others do the same calculation, they may be saddened to reach a similar number. Suicide is the leading cause of death in the UK for men under the age of 50, and it’s also the leading cause of death for men and women between the ages of 20 and 34.

To take the decision to end one’s own life is not a selfish one. It is to have reached such a crippling level of stress, depression, anxiety and/or insecurity, to not understand how you got there, and to have lost the roadmap for any journey back to positivity. It is an absence of hope. It is a reasoned and focused conclusion that the levels of physical and mental pain have become so critical and constant that they preclude you becoming or remaining a meaningful contributor to society and anything beyond a burden to those (often many) who love you and would do anything to help you get better.

As News Anchor Tom Bradby explained, reaching the nadir of his mental health breakdown was more painful than getting shot.

Tom also went on to say, that the one advantage of having a breakdown is that it leaves you wide open to the possibility of entirely rewiring your mental processes.

That rewiring is a very long road, and it is difficult to see how it could come without highly skilled psychological or psychiatric intervention accompanied by the compassion and kindness of a loving family and supportive friends and colleagues.

Such intervention is expensive and, in the UK today, is generally only available to those with health insurance (Bupa stands head and shoulders above others here) or family backing.

The consequences of a lack of professional help are stark – 3 out of 4 of people who die by suicide are not in contact with mental health services – and yet Government funding and support for this area is beyond shameful.

I know I am not alone in having real concerns for young people who are struggling on their mental health journey. They rarely have health insurance and are often cut off from their families. Government negligence means that NHS mental health treatment for young people can only be reactive not proactive. I spoke to a woman in her twenties who felt she had to make (and did make) a suicide attempt to receive access to public hospital treatment. This is 21st Century Britain and yet it feels like a Kafka novel.

Today, I want to highlight the incredible work of YoungMinds, a registered charity for young people (and their parents) requiring mental health support.

For those in pain right now, please know you are not alone and things can get better.



“Jane Smith is exceptional, having a great blend of legal skills and commercial acumen as well as injecting a sense of fun into the business.”


David is a recognised expert in helping SMEs and start-ups thrive. His experience covers corporate, commercial, employment, data protection and privacy (including GDPR), and dispute resolution. His knowledge of the media and technology sector also means that he is now retained to advise upon the business interests of a number of globally recognised music artists and athletes, together with university spin-outs and intrapreneur groups.

Guest speaker on entrepreneurship at the London Business School, as well as to postgraduate groups at other European universities. David is an Advisor to Africat, a Foundation focusing on wildlife and community conservation in Africa.

previous organisations

Ignition Law; Swan Turton; Osborne Clarke; Herbert Smith Freehills


Solicitor’s Practising Certificate (1999 to date); BSc in Psychology (Nottingham University)