Bosses at EastEnders have confirmed they are to tackle a devastating suicide plot, with Bex Fowler at the centre of it.
Recently viewers have seen the popular teen struggling to cope with the demands of her life, including her upcoming place at Oxford University.
Lisa Fowler, who struggles with her own mental health issues, realises that Bex isn't coping and tries to encourage her to open up.
But Bex instead continues to suffer in silence and, believing there is no other way, she makes an attempt on her own life.
Fortunately she is unsuccessful and the soap will follow how she begins to express what she is going through, and how she gets help.
The BBC show has worked closely with Samaritans to deliver the upcoming story.
Lorna Fraser, who leads on Samaritans’ Media Advice Service, commented on the storyline: "Suicide is clearly a very sensitive topic and we were pleased that EastEnders contacted us for advice on how to approach Bex’s storyline.
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"Bex’s story highlights the potential consequences of not seeking help if you’re struggling to cope, and also the importance of starting a conversation if you think someone you know may be struggling.
"If you are worried about someone it’s alright to ask if they’re OK.
"For some it can be a huge relief to know that someone’s spotted they may be going through a difficult time.
"As suicide rates in England and Wales rose in 2018 for the first time in five years, with an increase in deaths by young people and the suicide rate of women under 25 at a record high, it’s vital that we increase understanding of what can be done to prevent this.
We wanted to take Bex on a journey which accurately reflected the crises facing many young people today.
"Suicide is not inevitable and media can be a valuable channel to highlight this to the public.
"Handling compelling soap storylines responsibly offers an opportunity to reach a large audience and engage them with the topic of suicide, creating greater awareness of how they can help to prevent suicide and what support is available.
"We would encourage anyone who has been touched by Bex’s storyline to speak to someone they trust or get in touch with Samaritans, we’re here to offer support 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Jon Sen, Executive Producer at EastEnders, added: "We wanted to take Bex on a journey which accurately reflected the crises facing many young people today – many of whom, like Bex, struggle under the mounting pressures placed on teenagers today.
"Having worked closely with Samaritans, our wish is that by telling this story we can encourage others in Bex’s position to realise there’s always help and there’s always hope and we hope that others will be encouraged to start a conversation if they are worried about someone they know."
If you are struggling or are concerned about someone who might be, contact Samaritans FREE any time from any phone on 116 123, even a mobile without credit.
This number won’t show up on your phone bill. Or you can email email@example.com visit samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch, where you can talk to one of their trained volunteers face to face.
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