Mental health charities are hoping a leading TV soap’s storyline - highlighting male suicide - will help get people talking and those in need reaching out for support.
In last night’s heartbreaking hour-long episode of Coronation Street, Johnny Connor, played by Richard Hawley, discovered his son Aidan, played by Shayne Ward, has taken his own life.
Earlier this week, viewers saw the factory boss sitting alone in his flat after visiting his fiancee and attending a family party - with people around him unaware of his inner turmoil.
The challenging and sensitive topic being taken on by the soap has been commended by the Samaritans for the sensitive way it has been handled.
And the charity, along with Washington Mind which covers South Tyneside and Sunderland, hopes it will help get people talking and looking out for each other.
In 2016 there were 5,965 suicides, 75% of these suicides were men and it is the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. Recent figures suggest 12 men a day take their own lives.
Talking is the first step within suicide prevention. We need to see reaching out for help as a sign of strength and not one of weakness.Mind spokeswoman
A spokeswoman from MIND said: “Talking is the first step within suicide prevention. We need to see reaching out for help as a sign of strength and not one of weakness.”
Lorna Fraser, Executive Lead Samaritans’ Media Advisory Service said: “We are pleased Coronation Street has taken on this very important topic and has handled it so responsibly.
“Coronation Street built really helpful messages into Aidan’s story. It shows the devastation caused to families who are bereaved by suicide.
“We hope Aidan’s story encourages people who may be suffering in silence to speak out and seek help. We also hope it encourages others to reach out if they’re worried about someone they know.”
Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or via email: email@example.com or go to www.samaritans.org
HOPEline 08000684141. A helpline for young people struggling with suicidal thoughts
Child line – 08001111
CALM The Campaign Against Living Miserably: www.thecalmzone.net